- Toronto opening first-of-its-kind centre for those with COVID-19 who can’t self-isolate at home.
- Northern B.C. First Nation school closed due to COVID-19.
- Manitoba’s 1st cases of COVID-19 on First Nations identified at Fisher River and Peguis.
- UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approves resolution on tackling the pandemic.
- Hungary records another record number of people newly infected with coronavirus, with 916 new cases.
Toronto is opening a centre for those with COVID-19 who cannot self-isolate at home — a service the federal government says is open to other cities across the country.
The federal government is providing $13.9 million to Toronto Public Health — enough to operate the 140-room isolation centre that opens this weekend for the next 12 months, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said.
“We’ve heard heartbreaking stories of people knowing that they are ill and knowing that they don’t have the capacity to stop the spread within their own home,” Hajdu said at a news conference in Toronto on Friday.
“This space will be available for people who live in housing that lacks the necessary space to allow for that proper distancing.”
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, said the isolation centre is “a critical part” of the city’s plan to deal with the likely resurgence of the novel coronavirus.
“What this all comes down to is simply this: Many people living under one roof and not enough space increases the risk that COVID-19 will spread in that household, which means it can spread in the community, too,” de Villa said. “This voluntary isolation site helps to reduce those risks.”
The city reported 71 new cases to the province on Friday — Toronto’s highest single-day count since mid-June, according to the city’s website.
WATCH | COVID-19 cases on the rise in parts of Canada 6 months into pandemic:
De Villa said public health investigators will determine on a case-by-case basis if someone with the disease could benefit from isolating at the new centre rather than stay home.
Mayor John Tory said there are many people in Toronto who cannot self-isolate at home.
“Data has shown us that lower-income neighbourhoods were disproportionately affected in the early stages and today by COVID-19, in part because individuals living in these communities once they tested positive may then have experienced difficulty to properly isolate themselves,” he said.
Tory said he and health officials have been discussing the idea for several months with the federal government.
Toronto Board of Health chair Joe Cressy said isolation sites have been used successfully in New York, Chicago and Wuhan, China, to reduce community transmission.
Toronto has also operated two other isolation facilities for people with COVID-19 who are experiencing homelessness since the spring, he said in a statement.
Hajdu said there are currently no plans for another facility elsewhere, but that she has been talking to many big-city mayors since late June and those talks continue.
“If the city requires that service, yes, we’ll work with them to make sure that we can provide a similar support,” she said.
Here’s what’s happening around the rest of Canada
As of 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 135,626 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 119,674 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,205.
A school for about 40 Takla First Nation students in northern British Columbia is the first school in the province to close due to COVID-19 since the new school year began this week.
In a written statement Friday, Raymond Mba, principal of Nus Wadeezuhl Community School in Takla Landing, said the school closure is a “precautionary measure” following positive coronavirus cases in Fort St. James, which is about 195 kilometres south of Takla Landing and a major service centre for the area.
The Takla Nation said in a written statement that potential exposure to the virus occurred at a headstone raising ceremony at Beaver Lake on Aug. 30 and at a wedding at the Nak’azdli First Nation in Fort St. James on Sept. 5.
In Manitoba, three people have tested positive for COVID-19 in two neighbouring Interlake communities, the first time the disease has been identified on First Nations in the province.
Peguis First Nation leadership announced Friday evening that two of its members tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving rapid testing. Earlier in the day, Fisher River Cree Nation announced one of its members had also tested positive.
Starting today, Quebec police will begin handing out fines to anyone who isn’t wearing a mask when required under public health regulations, Premier François Legault said.
Legault said Friday people need to show discipline and avoid large private gatherings to ward off a second wave of COVID-19.
WATCH | Here’s how Quebec’s new colour-coded alert system works:
People will be fined if they do not wear a mask in indoor public spaces where distancing is not possible. Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said the penalties will range from $400 to $6,000.
The province reported another 219 cases Friday. That brought the average number of daily new cases over the past week to more than 170, surpassing the 20-infections-per-million-inhabitants daily threshold the province had been hoping to avoid to maintain control over the virus.
Here’s what’s happening around the world
According to the tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 28.5 million. More than 916,000 people have died, while 19.2 million have recovered.
The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution on tackling the pandemic over objections from the United States and Israel, which protested a successful last-minute Cuban amendment that strongly urges countries to oppose unilateral economic, financial or trade sanctions.
The world body adopted the resolution Friday by a vote of 169-2. The resolution is not legally binding.
It “calls for intensified international co-operation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic,” and it urges member states “to enable all countries to have unhindered timely access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable diagnosis, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines.”
Mexico is declaring 24 of its 32 states ready for partial reopening, marking the first time since the pandemic hit that no state is listed at a “red” level maximum alert.
The 24 states listed at “orange,” or high risk, may now allow many non-essential businesses to reopen at 30 per cent capacity. The eight other states are listed at “yellow,” or moderate risk, allowing even more business activities. However, bars, nightclubs and dance halls remain closed, and sporting events and concerts cannot have spectators.
Mexico reported 5,930 newly confirmed coronavirus cases Friday, about the same as two weeks ago. The country has recorded a total of 658,299 infections. Officials reported 534 more deaths from COVID-19, for a total of 70,183 — the fourth-highest in the world.
Hungary has registered another record number of people newly infected with the coronavirus, with 916 new cases.
Saturday’s total is more than 25 per cent higher than the previous record of 716 cases, reached Friday.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government is taking a less generalized approach to the pandemic during the second wave in the country, with restrictions decided more on a case-by-case basis.
Orban said Saturday in a video posted on his Facebook page that the aim was not just to save lives but also to keep the country running. During the second quarter of the year, the Hungarian economy contracted by 13.6 per cent, the largest fall in the region.
“The virus can’t paralyze us again,” Orban said.
Hungary has confirmed 11,825 cases of the virus, including 633 deaths.