Manitoba’s health system still has capacity and is not yet at its breaking point, the health minister said Tuesday as the number of active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increased.
The province reported 184 new cases — a new daily record — and three new deaths on Tuesday. Hospitalizations increased to 83, while ICU numbers stayed steady at 15.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen said the province is bringing in extra contact tracers through an agreement with the Red Cross and is planning for all scenarios, including the possibility of moving less severe patients and cancelling elective surgeries.
“If the numbers continue to go in the wrong direction on COVID-19, then we have to think about how we would curtail those in order to keep people safe and be able to concentrate our efforts elsewhere,” he said.
The question of how health systems will cope with a second wave is not just an issue in Manitoba. The Canadian Medical Association released a study this week looking at the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on six procedures, including CT and MRI scans, knee and hip replacements and cataract surgery.
Dr. Ann Collins, president of the national association of physicians, said Canadians could “very well see a backlog on a backlog if we do not start addressing it, given what we are very possibly looking at with a second wave.”
What’s happening in Canada
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As of 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 222,887 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 186,464 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 10,001.
British Columbia announced 217 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases in the province up to 2,322. There were 84 people hospitalized, with 27 in the ICU.
Alberta reported 422 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 4,738. Hospitalizations ticked up to to 123, with ICU numbers steady at 16.
In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday that targeted measures focused on COVID-19 in bars and nightclubs could come this week after dozens of cases were linked to several bars and clubs. The province reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases to 652. Health officials reported 24 hospitalizations, with six in ICU.
Ontario’s premier said he’s accepted the apology of a Niagara-area MPP who has faced criticism after being captured in a close group photo at an indoor event in which nobody wore masks. “Everyone makes mistakes. He apologized. He’s not going to do it again,” Doug Ford said of Sam Oosterhoff.
Ontario reported 827 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and four new deaths due to the virus. In total, 312 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 75 in intensive care.
In Quebec, Premier François Legault, who recently extended COVID-19 restrictions in hard-hit regions of the province, defended his government Tuesday against an opposition charge that mixed messaging around public health restrictions is sowing unrest in the province.
Quebec reported 963 new COVID-19 cases, and 19 new deaths — with four of the deaths reported in the past 24 hours, 14 dating back to last week and one from an unknown date. The number of patients in hospital declined by 16 to 527 while the number of intensive-care patients dropped by two to 91.
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The Atlantic provinces saw some increases in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with New Brunswick reporting three new cases in the Campbellton region, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 55. Nova Scotia reported one new case, saying the individual had travelled outside Atlantic Canada and was self-isolating.
There were no new cases reported in Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador.
In the North, there were no new confirmed cases in Yukon or Nunavut. In the Northwest Territories officials reported a presumptive positive case in Inuvik, but said in a statement that public health “has determined there is no risk to the public as the individual has been self-isolating appropriately since returning from travel.”
What’s happening around the world
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A database maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University tracking COVID-19 cases worldwide stood at more than 44 million cases worldwide as of Wednesday morning, with more than 29.8 million considered resolved. The number of deaths reported around the world stood at more than 1.1 million.
In the Americas, nearly half a million people have contracted COVID-19 in the United States over the last seven days, according to a Reuters tally, as new cases and hospitalizations set records in the Midwest.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Tuesday she had tested positive for COVID-19 but was feeling well and had not developed symptoms of the disease.
The situation in Europe, where coronavirus infections are surging, is “serious and alarming” and the bloc must be more efficient with testing, contact tracing, vaccine and quarantine policies, the EU Council president said.
“We need more efficiency in intercepting [the virus] before citizens infect each other. We need strong planning. Otherwise we will have systematic lockdowns in coming months,” Charles Michel told Italian daily La Stampa in an interview published on Wednesday.
Italy, which pledged more than €5 billion (roughly $7.7 billion Cdn) in new support measures for businesses hit by the latest restrictions, has seen repeated clashes between police and protesters in cities from Naples to Turin as well as bitter criticism from restaurant owners and business groups.
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In the Asia-Pacific region, India’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases moved closer to eight million, with 43,893 new cases reported in the latest 24-hour period.
The total reported Wednesday includes the highest single-day number of cases for New Delhi, the Indian capital — 4,853. The Health Ministry also reported 508 fatalities from COVID-19 across India in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 120,010.
Authorities in Sri Lanka have closed several museums as a new wave of coronavirus cases is detected in different parts of the country.
In the Middle East, the Iranian government said people are being too lax in complying with restrictions, as the hardest-hit Middle Eastern country faced new daily records of infections and deaths.
South Africa remained the hardest-hit country in Africa, with nearly 718,000 reported cases and more than 19,000 deaths.