Manitoba health officials are warning that tighter restrictions, including a stay-at-home order, are on the table as rising COVID-19 cases stretch the health-care system.
“We’ll continue to follow these numbers through the week to see if we get any indication of a peak occurring. But we don’t take things off the table if we’re going to protect Manitobans,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief provincial public health officer, said at a news conference when asked if a stay-at-home order is on the horizon.
Roussin urged people to follow public health orders as there is “far too much strain” on the health-care system.
The total number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 stands at 264, including 73 in ICU. Including non-COVID cases, there are now 120 patients in intensive care beds across the province. That is nine shy of the record set last December during the second wave of the pandemic.
Lanette Siragusa, the province’s chief nursing officer, says non-urgent and elective surgeries have been scaled back and staff are being redeployed from other areas to help with the workload.
Alberta is similarly dealing with a strain on its health-care system, with the province’s ICUs currently treating more patients than at any time in history, health officials say.
There are currently more than 240 people — including 186 with COVID-19 — in the province’s intensive care units, according to Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of Alberta Health Services.
“That is easily the most ICU patients that we have ever seen in our health-care system and definitely higher than what we have seen in waves one and two,” Yiu said at a news conference Monday.
Alberta on Sunday reported 1,140 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths. While its daily active case counts have recently begun to decline, the province continues to have the highest active-case rate in all of Canada.
– From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 5 p.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
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As of 5 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 1,332,023 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 69,176 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 24,963.
Ontario on Monday reported 2,170 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 1,320, with 779 people in ICU due to COVID-related illness.
In Quebec, health officials reported 551 new cases — the province’s lowest daily increase since Sept. 23 — and eight new deaths.
Across the North, Nunavut on Monday reported no new cases, with Premier Joe Savikataaq saying the number of active cases in the territory stood at 65. Health officials in the Northwest Territories and Yukon had not yet provided updated figures.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported 91 new cases. Although overall case numbers are trending slowly downward, health officials expect hospitalizations to keep increasing for the next week or so and have announced changes to how inpatient beds are handled to make sure capacity will be there.
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Saskatchewan reported 178 new cases of COVID-19 and two new deaths. Beginning Tuesday, all Saskatchewan residents age 16 and older will be eligible for a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In British Columbia, health officials will provide updated figures later Monday.
– From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 5 p.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of Monday afternoon, more than 163.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 3.3 million.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is calling on Pfizer and Moderna to make COVID-19 vaccine doses available to the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility earlier than planned due to a supply shortfall left by Indian export disruptions.
COVAX, which supplies doses to poorer countries, relies heavily on exports by India’s Serum Institute of the AstraZeneca jab, but many of these are instead being used by the country as it battles a massive second wave of infections. The shortfall is estimated at 140 million doses by end of May.
In the Americas, U.S. President Joe Biden said Monday that the country will share an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the world in the coming six weeks.
The doses would come from existing U.S. production of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks. It would mark the first time that U.S.-controlled doses of vaccines authorized for use in the country will be shared overseas, as domestic demand for the shots has dropped significantly in recent weeks.
The announcement comes on top of the Biden administration’s prior commitment to share about 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the U.S., by the end of June.
Trinidad and Tobago will impose a state of emergency from midnight to contain an increase of cases and related deaths.
In Europe, pubs and restaurants across much of the U.K. opened for indoor service for the first time since early January on Monday, even as Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to be cautious amid the spread of a more contagious coronavirus variant first discovered in India.
The latest step in the gradual easing of restrictions imposed in England also includes the reopening of theatres, sports venues and museums, raising hopes that the economy may soon start to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
The Dutch government will further relax the nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, allowing zoos and theme parks to reopen. The government said Monday that decreases in hospital admission numbers of COVID-19 patients allowed the easing to go ahead.
In the Asia-Pacific region, for the first time in weeks, India’s daily cases dropped below 300,000, continuing a decline. The health ministry said around 280,000 cases and 4,106 deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. Both numbers are almost certainly undercounts.
Hong Kong’s government says the start of a proposed quarantine-free travel bubble with Singapore has been postponed following a spike in untraceable cases in the Southeast Asian city-state.
In Africa, South Africa has started its mass vaccination drive with the goal of inoculating nearly five million citizens 60 and over by the end of June. The country has nearly one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, after receiving a delivery of 325,260 doses on Sunday night.
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia said foreign visitors arriving by air from most countries will no longer need to quarantine if they have been vaccinated.
– From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 3:45 p.m. ET
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