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

Just Posted

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Student-nurse Kendra Waterstreet administers the Pfizer vaccine to Litia Fleming at the Waneta Plaza vaccination clinic in the old Zellers buiding. Photo: Jim Bailey
Trail vaccination clinic readies for adults age 40+

B.C.’s state of emergency is extended through the end of day on May 25

Kerry Reed
West Kootenay Fishing Report: Spring fishing, the bite is on!!

Anglers having great results on Kootenay Lake and Columbia River

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

For something a little different this week, Trail Blazers is featuring an historical image from the Kootenay Boundary. This rough and tumble photo shows the Forshaw Ranch near Phoenix, B.C, circa 1914. Photo Credit: Boundary Heritage Facebook Page (via Grand Forks Gazette)
Trail Blazers: Home, home on the range

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Tim Miller is selling his 76-foot steel bridge from his property in Burton, B.C. The bridge originates from the railway in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
For sale: a 100-ton 19th century bridge by Arrow Lakes

Bridge is in Burton, B.C. and advertised for $40,000

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read