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.

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

Just Posted

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Burning will only occur if weather conditions are suitable and allow smoke to dissipate. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Pile burning of 50 wood debris in Burns Lake community forest

Smoke might be visible for Burns Lake and neighboring areas

Tourism update Meghan Olson. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Village of Burns Lake gets a new tourism coordinator

Meghan Olson, a Burns Lake local, replaces the former coordinator

COVID 19 cases in the province between Mar. 28 to Apr. 3. (BC CDC photo/Lakes District News)
No new COVID-19 cases in Burns Lake

Weekly COVID-19 cases decline in Northwest B.C.

Nee Tahi Buhn band
Nee Tahi Buhn Band chief and council removed

Interim council working towards a by-election

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read