Ontario, Quebec maintain downward trend in daily COVID-19 cases
Canada's largest provinces dip below 2,000 daily case threshold
By Colin Perkel
TORONTO — New COVID-19 infections maintained a downward trend in Canada’s two most populous provinces on Wednesday, although authorities reported more than 100 new deaths from the disease.
Ontario reported another 49 deaths even as its daily case count continued an ongoing downward trend, with 1,670 new cases recorded.
Quebec, which saw 53 more COVID-19-related deaths, reported 1,328 new cases.
The province said on Wednesday it would not challenge a court order exempting the homeless from a provincewide curfew.
“Since the start of the curfew, our desire has been for people experiencing homelessness to be guided to the right resources and not to judicialize them,” said Lionel Carmant, the junior health minister.
Premier Francois Legault had previously refused the exemption after a man was found dead this month in a portable toilet in Montreal near a homeless shelter.
Hotspots in Toronto, New Brunswick
Public health officials were grappling with several hot spots across the country, including in the Toronto area and Edmunston in northwestern New Brunswick, where doctors warned the pandemic virus could spiral out of control quickly.
Several doctors urged people in the hard-hit Edmundston region, under a 14-day lockdown that began Sunday, to follow guidelines, get tested and to stay home if they feel ill. The area has almost half the 339 active cases reported in the province.
Public health officials have also raised concerns about the emergence of variants of the novel coronavirus, believed to be far more contagious. While the numbers of confirmed cases remain small, testing has only just begun to ramp up.
The military, too, has been grappling with a recent surge in COVID-19. Latest data indicated almost 250 cases so far this month, a huge jump from the roughly 75 per month recorded in the first nine months of the pandemic.
To date, about 1,100 of the Canadian Armed Forces’ roughly 100,000 members have been vaccinated.
Prisons and jails, too, have seen case increasing numbers. Federally, 1,232 inmates have been infected, while Ontario’s Maplehurst Correctional Complex is dealing with 94 active cases.
Canada Post confirmed a worker at its facility at the Gateway East plant in Mississauga, Ont., died from COVID-19. The service has reported 224 cases at the facility and warned of mail-processing delays.
CEO resigns after Yukon escapade
Earlier Tuesday, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said he was disgusted by a Vancouver couple who apparently flew to a remote Yukon community to get a COVID-19 vaccine. He called the impugned actions by Rodney Baker, ousted CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corp., and his wife Ekaterina Baker as “maybe the dumbest thing” he’d seen in a long time.
Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker said last week the couple allegedly chartered a plane to Beaver Creek near the Alaska border, posed as visiting workers and were given COVID-19 vaccinations at a mobile clinic operated by the White River First Nation.
While the pandemic has taken a brutal health and economic toll, new data also indicate police-recorded crime fell sharply during the first eight months of the pandemic, although mental-health calls rose.
Statistics Canada said 19 police services, servicing most of the country, reported select criminal incidents such as assault fell 18 per cent between March and October 2020, compared with the same period a year earlier.
Service calls — particularly for wellness checks, domestic disturbances and mental health — were up eight per cent, Statistics Canada reported.