British Columbia’s provincial health officer is calling for patience among essential workers waiting for a vaccine that’s being prioritized for people in areas where COVID-19 transmission is highest.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said firefighters, police and paramedics are being vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines over the next few weeks alongside staff at schools and child-care centres.
She said certain neighbourhoods will also be targeted as the province’s age-based program currently books people aged 65 and up for immunization, though the Pfizer vaccine has not been arriving as reliably as the one by Moderna.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is also being administered in a parallel program at pharmacies for people between the ages of 55 and 65 during the third wave of the pandemic, which has Henry asking people to stay in their own neighbourhoods.
The province on Monday reported 3,289 cases over the last three days as active cases neared 10,000 and there were 18 more deaths. A total of 368 people were hospitalized, with 121 of them in intensive care units.
B.C. health officials confirm the number of patients in critical care with COVID-19 has risen to a record high. ER physician Dr. Michael Curry joined our <a href=”https://twitter.com/Mike_Killeen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Mike_Killeen</a> to talk about what he’s seeing on the front lines and how this wave is different from previous ones. <a href=”https://t.co/qY8crK9p0U”>pic.twitter.com/qY8crK9p0U</a>
Henry said health-care workers are feeling the impact of the third wave, which has led to some cancelled surgeries for the first time since the province launched its surgical renewal plan in May.
Health Minister Adrian Dix, meanwhile, said some health-care staff have been redeployed to hospitals in areas with the highest number of cases.
“It is critical to keep our hospitals open and safe for everyone to be able to come in. And to do that, we all need to ensure that we’re following public health orders.”
–From The Canadian Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
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As of early Tuesday morning, Canada had reported 1,071,022 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 76,813 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,356.
In Atlantic Canada, health officials on Monday reported a total of 20 new cases of COVID-19, including:
- 10 new cases in New Brunswick, which also reported two cases of the B1351 variant first reported in South Africa.
- 7 new cases in Nova Scotia — 5 cases related to travel and two cases that are linked to previously reported cases.
- Prince Edward Island reported 3 new cases, all linked to travel outside the Atlantic region.
- No new cases were reported in Newfoundland and Labrador.
In Central Canada, Quebec on Monday reported 1,599 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths. Health officials said COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 630, with 142 people were in intensive care.
Hard-hit Ontario on Monday reported 4,401 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths. COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province stood at 1,646, including 619 in intensive care.
Faced with rising case numbers and increased strain on the health-care system, Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that students across the province would shift to remote learning after the spring break. The announcement came just a day after Lecce sent a letter saying students would return to in-class learning.
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In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 114 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s top doctor, said Manitoba is looking at a number of possibilities around restrictions, including an outdoor mask mandate and tighter restrictions on private gatherings.
In Saskatchewan, meanwhile, health officials on Monday reported 300 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death.
Alberta on Monday reported a slight dip in new COVID-19 cases with 1,136 infections. The province, which reported five additional deaths, said hospitalizations stood at 390, with 90 people in intensive care.
Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories or Yukon.
-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Tuesday morning, more than 136.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a coronavirus tracker administered by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 2.9 million.
In the Americas, health officials in the U.S. are recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as investigators look into six reports of rare blood clots.
In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said all of the cases happened in women between the age of 18 and 48, the statement said, with symptoms occurring between six and 13 days after people were vaccinated.
According to the statement, as of Monday the U.S. had administered more than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine. Canada has approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but has not yet received any doses.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi appealed for people to adhere to physical distancing rules after Islamabad reported one of its highest single-day totals of COVID-19 fatalities in recent months. Alvi also said on Twitter he has recovered from his own case of COVID-19, but was still feeling weakness.
India reported 161,736 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, hitting the world’s highest daily tally once again, for a total of 13.69 million cases, health ministry data showed.
In Europe, the German government said companies will need to offer all employees who aren’t working from home at least one coronavirus test each week.
Britain, meanwhile, said it has hit its target of giving at least one dose of vaccine to everyone over 50 and others in groups at highest risk from the coronavirus by mid-April.
In Africa, South Africa, meanwhile, extended by a further three months the deadline of a loan scheme central to efforts to counter the economic impact of COVID-19.
In the Middle East, hard-hit Iran’s reported case total has risen to more than two million, with more than 64,700 reported deaths.
–From The Associated Press, CBC News and Reuters last updated at 7:45 a.m. ET