A person walks by a COVID-19 vaccine poster at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ontario, on Monday March 15, 2021. The centre will be used as a immunization clinic for the Napanee area.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

A person walks by a COVID-19 vaccine poster at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ontario, on Monday March 15, 2021. The centre will be used as a immunization clinic for the Napanee area.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

National decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths starting to level off: Tam

Tam has warned that average daily case counts of COVID-19 are now on the rise again after a plateau

Canada’s chief public health officer urged caution Wednesday as a national decline in severe COVID-19 outcomes, such as hospitalizations and deaths, began to level off at the same time as the country’s vaccine rollout picks up steam.

In her daily statement, Dr. Theresa Tam said provincial and territorial data show an average of 2,048 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals every day over the seven-day period that ended Tuesday.

That includes 550 people who were in intensive care units, she said, adding an average of 31 COVID-related deaths were reported each day during that same period.

She noted the emergence and transmission of more contagious variants heightens the risk of 20-to-39-year-olds — currently the group with the highest infection rates — spreading the virus to more vulnerable populations.

“While vaccine programs begin to accelerate, it will be important to maintain a high degree of caution,” she said.

“Any easing of public health measures must be done slowly with enhanced testing, screening, and genomic analysis to detect variants of concern. In particular, there must be sufficient contact tracing capacity and supports for effective isolation, given increased transmissibility of variants of concern.”

Tam has also warned in recent days that average daily case counts of COVID-19 are now on the rise again across the country after plateauing for several weeks.

More than 8.5 million dosed of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are slated to arrive in Canada in the next eight weeks, according to updated delivery information from Health Canada. That represents more than 2.5 times the amount received in the last 14 weeks.

Nearly 1.2 million doses are expected in each of the upcoming two weeks, with slightly more than one million doses set to be delivered each of the following six weeks.

Other drugmakers whose COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Canada have promised shipments but given few details on when they will arrive.

Moderna has not confirmed any deliveries after this month, and no date has been set at this time for the first shipments directly from Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

A million doses of the AstraZeneca shot are expected from the Serum Institute of India next month, followed by 500,000 in May, but no precise date has been given for their arrival.

Another 1.6 million doses produced in South Korea are expected to land in Canada before the end of May, though no specific delivery schedule has been laid out so far.

On Tuesday, Canada’s expert vaccine panel released new advice on the AstraZeneca shot, saying there is now enough evidence to show the vaccine is safe and effective for seniors.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization had previously said the vaccine was not recommended for use on those over 65, citing a lack of data regarding that demographic.

Most provinces decided at the time not to give the AstraZeneca shot to seniors, and several have said they will not change course at this time despite the committee’s reversal on the issue.

Manitoba became the latest province Wednesday to say it would stick to its original plan regardless of the new advice.

“Right now that doesn’t change the fact that we only have 18,000 doses of AstraZeneca available. So for now we’ll be sticking with the current eligibility criteria,” the province’s medical officer of health, Dr. Joss Reimer, said.

Some European countries have suspended the use of the vaccine while EU regulators and the World Health Organization investigate whether AstraZeneca’s product has the potential to cause blood clots in those who receive it.

Some findings could come as early as Thursday as the European Medicines Agency releases initial results of its investigations. So far, the EMA and WHO have said there’s no evidence the vaccine is to blame for blood clots.

Health Canada has also said it is following the issue but does not currently see any evidence of a safety risk,

Nearly 3,330,100 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Canada as of Wednesday, the federal government said.

In Toronto, three city-run mass immunization clinics opened their doors Wednesday.

At the same time, a panel of scientists advising the Ontario government recommended taking the shots directly into buildings with large populations of seniors in order to protect those most likely to be hospitalized or die as a result of the virus.

In a report published Wednesday, the province’s Science Advisory Table identified 489 such buildings in Toronto alone, including more than 250 in neighbourhoods with the highest incidence of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Canadian company starts Phase 3 of plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fishers prefer landscapes with large areas of connected forest, said the Forest Practices Board. (Loney Dickson photo)
Logging continuing to impact fisher habitat in B.C.

Forest Practices Board concludes investigation near Bobtail Mountain Provincial Park

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty advises Conservative leader Erin O’Toole on mental health and wellness. (House of Commons Photography)
Cariboo-Prince George MP calling for 1-year deadline to establish 3-digit suicide hotline

Todd Doherty’s motion calling for 9-8-8 as a national hotline passed unanimously in December

A fundraiser has been launched for local senior Mary Klassen after a fire destroyed her mobile home Friday, May 7. (Aman Parhar photo)
Fire destroys home at C.J.’s Trailer Park

Two other structures damaged by heat exposure

Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce moved to its new location on Stewart Street West earlier this month. (Michelle Roberge photo)
New space for Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce

Chamber moves to West Stewart Street

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read