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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
9:30 p.m.: Health officials say some people who rode a bus to a Saskatchewan Roughriders game earlier this month may have been exposed to COVID-19.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority had previously announced that some fans who attended the Aug. 6 home game may have been exposed.
The health authority now says those who rode a bus from Birmingham’s Vodka and Ale House Regina to Mosaic Stadium and back, and who were sitting near the front of the bus, should self-monitor for symptoms.
2:35 p.m.: Warning of tough days ahead with surging COVID-19 infections, the director of the National Institutes of Health said Sunday the U.S. could decide in the next couple weeks whether to offer coronavirus booster shots to more Americans this fall.
Dr. Francis Collins also pleaded anew for unvaccinated Americans to get their shots, calling them “sitting ducks” for a delta variant that is ravaging the country and showing little sign of letting up.
“This is going very steeply upward with no signs of having peaked out,” he said.
Read more here
10:16 a.m (updated).: Ontario is reporting 511 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 350 cases are in unvaccinated individuals and 67 in partially vaccinated individuals.
There were no new deaths reported.
The province says it administered 50,343 vaccine doses since the last update, for a total of more than 20 million shots.
Read more here.
8:30 a.m.: The Senate’s top Democrat says federal law enforcement officials need to crack down on fake COVID-19 vaccination cards being sold online.
Sen. Chuck Schumer’s announcement Sunday comes after The Associated Press reported how people are cheating the system and buying counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards online, worrying officials at colleges and universities across the country that are requiring proof students received the vaccine to attend in-person classes.
Schumer is demanding U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FBI team up with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services to launch a crackdown on the counterfeit cards and start a campaign to make clear that forging the cards could land people in federal prison.
Read more from the Associated Press.
8:15 a.m.: With schools reopening soon, Canadian parents are worried COVID-19 infections among children will soar. And although most kids won’t experience lingering effects, parents are concerned some might.
A direct link between long COVID and the SARS-CoV-2 virus has not been established, experts say, and studies aiming to understand more about COVID’s impact on Canadian kids are underway.
Dr. Stephen Freedman, the lead investigator in a Canadian Institute of Health Research study on COVID-19 outcomes in kids, says the majority of children who test positive will only experience mild illness.
One rare complication is a delayed reaction to the virus called multisystem inflammatory syndrome of children, or MIS-C, which Freedman said impacts roughly 1 in 3,500 kids infected with COVID-19.
Freedman, a pediatric emergency physician at Alberta Children’s Hospital and a clinician-scientist at the University of Calgary, said MIS-C is different from long COVID, which can be harder to define and diagnose.
The problem, Freedman said, is that it’s typically not clear whether the viral infection is causing prolonged symptoms or something else altogether.
Read more from the Canadian Press.
7:30 a.m.: Although more than 80 per cent of eligible population in Ontario have had at least one shot, latest data showed just 74.5 per cent of those over the age of 18 have been fully vaccinated and 73.1 per cent of all eligible people (12 and above) had had both shots.
The Willowdale East community, a young neighbourhood with high density, fell short by a margin on the fully vaccinated fronts, at 63.6 per cent for all adults and 57.6 per cent for those 12 and above. (The population here with at least one shot was below 70 per cent.)
Over the past week, health officials had canvassed the areas, putting up flyers, knocking on doors of local businesses and visiting residences to promote the clinic, which ran from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., including two other stops, at nearby Toronto District Catholic School Board headquarters and Avondale Park.
On Saturday, Dr. Naomi Driman made another push by doing rounds in the Willowdale Park, talking to young parents, dog-walkers and picnickers to encourage any unvaccinated people to go for the shot.
Read the full story from the Star’s Nicholas Keung: ‘Getting to the last 20 per cent is challenging.’ Why a mobile health team is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to the hidden unvaccinated
6:15 a.m.: At a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, tempers flared among those waiting for scarce AstraZeneca jabs, with some accusing others of trying to jump the queue.
Nurses intervened, telling them the accused had been waiting since the previous day and averting violence in what has become a tense atmosphere as Ugandans jostle for vaccinations.
In the aftermath of a brutal wave of infections driven by the delta variant, many Ugandans seeking a first dose of vaccine are competing with hundreds of thousands who have waited months for a second dose. But the country now has only 285,000 shots donated by Norway.
The delta surge has touched off a vaccination rush across Africa that the slow trickle of donated doses can’t keep up with, compounding the continent’s vaccine disadvantage compared with the rest of the world. The urgency to obtain a second dose across much of the world’s least vaccinated continent contrasts sharply with rich countries now beginning to authorize third doses.
Dr. Alfred Driwale, the top official with Uganda’s immunization program, said ruefully that the small number of doses will do little to remedy the situation as the 5 million Ugandans eligible for vaccination — everyone from soldiers to health workers — scramble for shots under a first-come, first-serve system.
5:25 a.m.: Nursing students and recent graduates from nursing programs in Quebec say working conditions in the province’s public health-care system are pushing them into the private sector, further exacerbating a shortage of nurses in provincial hospitals.
Audrey-Ann Bissonnette-Clermont, 27, graduated with a nursing degree a year ago. While she started her career in a Montreal emergency room, she said she’s now switched to telemedicine and is working for a private company.
In some ways, it was a difficult choice, she said.
“I got into the profession because I like people, I like to work with people,” she said in an interview. It’s been hard to leave behind the face-to-face contact, she added, “but it’s not difficult for my mental health.”
Unlike some nurses in Quebec hospitals, Bissonnette-Clermont said she didn’t face a significant amount of mandatory overtime during the COVID-19 pandemic. The past year, however, was still draining.
Bissonnette-Clermont, president of nursing student group the Association étudiante en sciences infirmières du Québec, said the pandemic has been hard for Quebec’s aspiring nurses as internships were cancelled and trainees were denied time off to study.
Read more from the Canadian Press.
5:00 a.m.: British Columbia has reported 717 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, pushing the number of active infections in the province to 4,277.
Over half the latest cases and about 57 per cent of active infections are in the Interior Health region, where public health restrictions have been reinstated in several communities and spread has primarily been linked to unvaccinated people.
There are 82 people in hospital with the illness, including 39 in intensive care, while the death toll remained the same on Friday at 1,779.
A statement from the Health Ministry reports there are 11 active outbreaks in assisted-living and long-term care homes, up from eight on Thursday.
Health officials announced this week that all staff and volunteers at seniors’ care facilities are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 12.
Seventy-two per cent of eligible B.C. residents have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, while 82.4 per cent have received at least one shot.
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