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

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta joins Ontario in lowering minimum age for AstraZeneca vaccine

More than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in this country

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Most Read