Coronavirus Canada Updates: Ontario changes vaccine protocol, Scarborough to send patients to Kingston

Coronavirus: Ontario reports 587 new COVID-19 infections, 6 more deaths
Coronavirus: Ontario reports 587 new COVID-19 infections, 6 more deaths

Ontario reported 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 and 51 deaths on January 16.

Twenty-five of today’s deaths are long-term care home residents, bringing the total number of long-term care resident deaths in the province to 3,162, according to provincial data.

The seven-day average for new cases dropped slightly to 3,218. There were 2,998 cases on Friday, 3,326 on Thursday, 2,961 on Wednesday and 2,903 on Tuesday.

The virus has now killed a total of 5,340 people in Ontario.

Another 3,212 cases resolved in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 28,618.

Hospitalizations have dropped to 1,632, but the number of intensive care COVID-19 patients rose to 397. Of those, 281 are on ventilators.

Medical labs have processed more than 73,800 tests in the past day. The testing positivity rate has risen to 4.9 per cent.

Toronto led the province in daily case counts today.

“Locally, there are 903 new cases in Toronto, 639 in Peel, 283 in York Region, 162 in Durham and 152 in Ottawa,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.

Ontario updates vaccine protocol after Pfizer delay

On Friday, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said it will temporarily reduce shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine to Canada by half this month.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the delay is due to the company increasing manufacturing capacity in Europe.

Pfizer’s move will “not impact our goal to have enough vaccines available by September for every Canadian who wants one,” Trudeau said during a press briefing in Ottawa on Friday.

In response, Ontario has updated its vaccine protocol to delay the timeframe in which phase one vaccine recipients will receive their second doses.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said in a statement on Saturday that long-term care home residents, caregivers and staff who received the first shot of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNech vaccine will now receive their second shot in 21 to 27 days.

All others who received the Pfizer vaccine will get their second shot within 21 and 42 days.

The delay does not impact people have received first doses of the two-shot Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

As of 8 pm on Friday, 189,090 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

In good news, Toronto has announced that immunization clinics have been held at all 87 long-term care homes in the city. Ten of those homes are city-run.

“More than 10,322 residents and 2,893 staff and essential caregivers have now been vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine on-site in Toronto long-term care homes,” the city said in a news release. “In addition, staff and essential caregivers have attended hospital clinics to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.”

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