Ontario, Alberta report record-high spikes; Quebec sees 202 new school cases

On Thursday, Oct. 8, jurisdictions around Canada reported 2,437 new cases of COVID-19, 17 fatalities and 1,842 recently recovered patients.

Following investigations in Quebec and Manitoba, one death and one case were removed from their totals. However, Canada’s active case count still went up by 578 on Thursday, for a total of 18,494 currently infected patients nationwide.

Ontario started the day by reporting a record-high spike of 797 new cases of COVID-19. In addition, 100 new cases were identified in the K-12 school setting, in a 24-hour stretch in which 36 learning institutions reported their first infections.

In Quebec, more than 1,000 new patients were identified for the sixth time over a seven-day stretch, as worrisome trends continue to develop in multiple regions of the province. In addition, 202 new cases were identified among students and staff.

Sixty-seven new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Manitoba, which marks the second-largest spike the province has seen since the start of the pandemic. In addition, its active case count hit another record high of 863.

In Alberta, health officials identified 364 new cases, the most ever in a 24-hour stretch for the province. Of those patients, 276 were identified in its epicentre of Edmonton, where new voluntary restrictions have been introduced.

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

18,494 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 175,559 diagnoses, 9,557 deaths and 147,508 recoveries (as of Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Alberta – 2,097 active cases (19,718 total cases, including 283 deaths, 17,338 resolved)

  • British Columbia – 1,394 active cases (10,066 total cases, 245 deaths, 8,398 resolved)

  • Manitoba – 863 active cases (2,344 total cases, 27 deaths, 1,454 resolved)

  • New Brunswick – 24 active cases (225 cases, 2 deaths, 199 resolved)

  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 4 active case (277 total cases, 4 deaths, 269 resolved)

  • Northwest Territories – 0 active cases (5 total cases, 5 resolved)

  • Nova Scotia – 3 active cases (1,089 total cases, 65 deaths 1,021 resolved)

  • Ontario – 5,442 active cases (56,742 total cases, 2,992 deaths, 48,308 resolved)

  • Prince Edward Island – 3 active case (61 total cases, 58 resolved)

  • Quebec –  8,492 active cases (82,992 total cases, 5,915 deaths, 68,585 resolved)

  • Saskatchewan – 143 active cases (2,012 total cases, 24 deaths, 1,845 resolved)

  • Yukon – 0 active cases (15 total cases, 15 resolved)

  • Nunavut – 0 active cases (no resident cases)

  • CFB Trenton – 0 active cases (13 total cases, 13 resolved)

Ontario reports a record-high case spike, with 100 new patients linked to schools

Ontario reported a record-high 797 new cases of COVID-19, four deaths and 695 recoveries.

It’s the 11th straight day the province has exceeded the 500-case mark and during which Ontario broke its own record on three occasions. Before the recent stretch, the province had not reported at least 500 cases since May 2.

There are now 5,442 active cases throughout the province. The most Ontario has ever had was on April 25, when there were 5,675 infected patients province-wide.

Of the most recent 797 cases, 265 were identified in Toronto, 182 in Ottawa, 134 in Peel, 78 in York, 33 in Halton, 24 in Simcoe-Muskoka, 22 in Durham, and 11 each in Middlesex-London and Hamilton. The remaining 23 public health units reported 10 or fewer cases, while 14 reported no new patients at all.

There are 331 new cases among those 20-39 years old, the most of any age group. There are 225 new cases among those 40-59, 126 among those 19 and under, and 112 involving those who are at least 60 years old.

The latest patients were identified after the province completed a record-high 48,488 tests. The 1.3 per cent positivity rate is still higher than any percentage Ontario recorded between July to early September.

In K-12 schools across Ontario, there are 100 new cases of COVID-19. That includes 51 among students, 22 among staff and 27 that have not yet been identified by the Ministry of Health. Thirty-six more schools have reported their first patients in the latest 24-hour stretch. Since they reopened in September, there have been 822 total cases among 415 learning institutions.

Of the active cases, there are 206 people in hospital, the most since July 1. That includes 47 in intensive care and 29 who require a ventilator.

Alberta reports record-high spike, prompting new voluntarily restrictions for Edmonton zone

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 364 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, which marks the largest single-day spike the province has recorded since the start of the pandemic. 

Of those cases, 276 of them have been identified in the Edmonton zone, where new voluntary restrictions will now be encouraged.

“I’m very concerned about the sharp rise in cases that we are seeing,” said Hinshaw.

Alberta’s top doctor said that it’s “concerning” that about 11 per cent of active cases in Edmonton attended work or social gatherings while symptomatic. Thirty-six have been exposed by a close contact, while 26 per cent are linked to an outbreak. 

“Community contacts appear to be a key driver in spreading the virus throughout the city. Social gatherings and family gatherings continue to be a factor in virus spreading events,” said Hinshaw. “We’ve also seen several workplace outbreaks where spread between employees has occurred.

“Edmonton zone now faces a crucial juncture.”

As part of the voluntary restrictions, all family and private social gatherings should be limited to no more than 15 people. This doesn’t impact schools or gatherings such as at theatres, worship services, or other formal gatherings where an organizer is ensuring all COVID guidance is in place, such as funerals or weddings. However, those are still encouraged to be limited to 15. 

Hinshaw also recommends that masks should be worn in all indoor work settings, except when alone in workspaces, such as cubicles or offices, where you can be safely distance from others.

Thirdly, people in the Edmonton zone should limit themselves to three cohorts: their core household cohort, their school cohort and a social, sport or other group. In a cohort, you don’t have to follow COVID restrictions all the time, which should not be the case in workplaces, said Hinshaw. Young children are also given an exception for care centres, since risk of transmission is considered low.

The restrictions aren’t mandatory, because Hinshaw said she’d like to be consistent with their reopening framework. They will become mandatory if hospitalizations rise an over 5 per cent increase over two weeks, and at least 50 per cent of ICU beds are in use. Two weeks ago on Sept. 24, there were 58 people in hospital and 14 in intensive care. As of today, there are 77 and 13, respectively.

Hinshaw said that it usually takes one to two weeks before a rise in cases contributes to a rise in hospitalizations.

Of the province’s 2,097 active cases of COVID-19, there are 1,251 in the Edmonton zone. All the other zones have fewer than 100, except the Calgary zone with 604. The latest 364 cases were identified after the province completed 16,408 tests for the virus.

Update on Alberta schools

Throughout schools in the province, there are 170 active alerts, which means there has been a case in the classroom. In that instance, everyone in that class needs to self-isolate for 14 days. That represents about seven per cent of all schools, with 370 active cases among them. Fifty-five schools that had alerts have now returned for in-class learning, said Hinshaw.

There are 72 schools that have active outbreaks, which means they’ve had at least two cases within a 14-day period. Fourteen of them have had at least five. Transmission within the school settings has likely occurred in 27 of those schools, and for 21 of them it’s produced only one case, said Hinshaw.

Two more people in the province have passed away, and they are both patients at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. Hinshaw said there are currently 83 cases, involving 42 patients that are part of the hospital outbreak.

Quebec sees another 1,000-plus increase, 202 new school cases

Quebec health officials announced 1,078 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

It’s now the sixth time in the past seven days that it has eclipsed 1,000-daily cases, a mark no other province has ever hit once. Before the recent stretch, Quebec had not reported a 1,000-case increase since May 2. 

Since then, it has also experienced multiple stretches where the province consistently reported fewer than 100 daily cases as it contained the spread of COVID-19.

Of the latest cases, 290 were identified in the nation’s epicentre of Montreal. There were also 199 new patients diagnosed in Quebec City, 169 in Montérégie, 87 in Laval, 70 in Laurentides and 60 in Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec. 

On Thursday, health officials announced that Bécancour, Nicolet-Yamaska, Drummond, Portneuf as well as the city of Trois-Rivières, will join the Greater Montreal region, the provincial capital and Chaudière-Appalaches as “red zones.”

It marks the highest level on its COVID-19 alert colour-scale, which indicates the severity of the virus in regions around the province and dictates what restrictions should be put in place.

“Our role is to stay ahead of the wave as much as we can,” said Health Minister Christian Dubé on Thursday. “That’s why we are making these difficult decisions.”

In K-12 schools around the province, 202 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the latest 24-hour reporting period, with 164 among students and 38 among staff. In that same stretch, 37 more schools reported their first case of COVID-19, while 41 more class bubbles were shut down.

Since schools opened, there have been 3,189 cases among students and staff. That includes 97 that recovered in the latest 24-hour stretch, leaving 1,769 currently infected patients in the system. So far, 983 schools have had a case of COVID-19, with 774 of them having an active case at the moment. In total, 1,016 class bubbles have been shut down and asked to learn remotely.

READ MORE: Quebec City is being overwhelmed by COVID-19. How did it get so bad?

In the latest 24-hour stretch, two more Quebecers have died. Eight other fatalities from previous dates were also added to its death toll, while one was recently removed following an investigation into the cause of death. 

In addition, 850 more people have recently recovered from the virus. Throughout the province, there are now 8,492 currently infected patients, which includes 425 in hospital (up by 16 since Wednesday) and 68 in intensive care (up by six).

Quebec’s testing numbers are reflective of its output from two days prior. Most recently, it completed 29,670 tests for COVID-19, as it continues to push its capacity.

Manitoba reports 67 new cases, marking its second largest ever spike

On Thursday, Manitoba health officials announced 67 new cases of COVID-19, the second-highest daily increase in cases in a 24-hour stretch since the start of the pandemic.

Of the patients, one was identified in Prairie Mountain, three in Interlake-Eastern, six in Southern health, and 57 in the province’s viral epicentre, Winnipeg. One case was also removed from the tally.

The update increases its active case count to 863. It’s the now 11th time in the past 13 days that it has hit a new record high for currently infected Manitobans.

Over the past few weeks, the province has seen concerning trends develop, primarily in the Winnipeg region, which is home to 745 of Manitoba’s active cases. Officials have routinely linked cases to bars and restaurants. On Wednesday, officials started to impose new restrictions for restaurants and bars for the Winnipeg area in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.

On Thursday, the province also notified the public about various possible COVID-19 exposures, with two of them involving schools in Winnipeg, and others involving businesses in Steinbach and Riding Mountain Village.

The latest cases were identified after the province completed 2,736 tests for the virus.

British Columbia surpasses 10,000 cases of COVID-19, but it’s an ‘under representation’

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, announced on Thursday that the province surpassed 10,000 total cases of COVID-19, after 110 new patients were identified in the latest 24-hour stretch.

“Today we’ve reached a threshold which is one that makes us pause,” said Henry. “We know that that’s an under representation of the impact of this virus and that there have been more people particularly early on when our access to testing was limited, who have been infected with this virus.”

Henry said B.C. and Canada have been fortunate to fare better than other areas around the world, however the grim milestone should serve as “a reminder that many people have been impacted by this virus.”

Henry made a focus to encourage people to continue to make smart choices in order to limit the spread of the virus. Of the province’s 10,066 total cases, there are 1,394 who are still considered infectious. Throughout the pandemic, 245 people have died in British Columbia due to the respiratory virus, which includes one more person in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Updates from the rest of Canada

No new cases were identified in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland and Labrador, as those provinces continue to have three and four active cases, respectively. As of Prince Edward Island’s last update on Oct. 6, there are three active cases in the province.

In New Brunswick, three new cases of COVID-19 were identified. One of them is between 20-29 years old in the Fredericton region and is related to international travel. The second is between 30-39 in the Campbellton region; their reason for transmission is still under investigation. The third is between 40-49 years old and they are in the Saint John region, while their reason for infection is related to travel outside of the Atlantic bubble. One more person has recovered in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch, which brings the active case count to 24.

In Saskatchewan, 18 new cases were identified in the Saskatoon (six), Far North West (three), Far North East (two), North Central (two), Central East(two), Regina, (one), North West (one) and South East (one) zones. In addition 13 people have recovered, which leaves the province with 143 active cases. The Saskatoon region is home to 43 of those currently infected individuals, and the Central East is home to 40, as it continues to deal with outbreaks in Yorkton.

On Thursday, Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority in Saskatchewan also notified the public of the potential impact there is on First Nations communities due to a multi-jurisdictional outbreak tied to Full Gospel Outreach events in Prince Albert from Sept. 14-Oct. 4. Anyone who was at these events during the 23-day period is being advised to self-isolate immediately.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer, says there are now 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Hope Bay mine. In addition, there are another six presumptive cases, but health officials have “contained” the outbreak. None of the cases have counted toward the territory’s case count, since the patients are not residents of Nunavut. There are currently no active cases throughout the three territories.

For a timeline of all cases before today, please visit this page.

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