Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario reporting 478 new cases of COVID-19, 3 new deaths; Number of new active COVID-19 cases among students, staff in publicly funded schools jumps by 51

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.12:03 p.m. Erin O’Toole’s wife, Rebecca, has tested positive for COVID-19. She began showing symptoms this weekend.10:43 a.m. The number of new active COVID-19 cases among students and staff in publicly funded schools across the province jumped by 51 on Tuesday to a total of 141.In its latest report released Tuesday morning, the province reported that 26 more students were infected for a total of 59. There were seven more staff members infected for a total of 33 and 18 more individuals for a total of 49.Two schools are closed — Monsignor Paul Baxter elementary school in Ottawa and Fellowes High School in Pembroke.There is a lag between the provincial data and news reports on infections in schools. The data is current as of 2 p.m. the previous work day, and doesn’t indicate where the place of transmission occurred.The numbers the province released on Monday was current as of Friday and didn’t include reports of the Ottawa elementary school closing over the weekend or two Toronto Catholic students testing positive.Read more from the Star’s Patrick Ho10:15 a.m. Ontario has marked its highest number of COVID-19 cases since May 2 when the province was under a strict lockdown.The Ministry of Heath reported 478 new infections Tuesday, an increase from 425 the previous day and the fourth time more than 400 people have tested positive since Friday.It’s a stunning increase since the same day in August when just 108 new cases were reported. There were 51 new cases in schools and the number of schools with students or staff infected almost doubled to 116 from 60 the previous day. One school each in Ottawa and Pembroke remain closed.“We are seeing numbers creep up,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.In an effort to stem the climb, Premier Doug Ford cut the limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 and 25 from 50 and 100 on the weekend. Hinting at more restrictions on the horizon, Ontario’s associate medical officer Dr. Barbara Yaffe warned Monday that “we are actively considering other measures.”Hospitalizations also increased, with 82 patients requiring hospital care for the virus, up from 65 in Monday’s report and the highest since July 30. There were 24 people in intensive care, an increase of two, and 11 of them on ventilators to breathe, down one.There were three additional deaths in long-term-care homes, where the number of outbreaks increased to 29 from 23 the day before.Toronto, Peel and Ottawa remained the hot spots for COVID-19 with 153, 95 and 90 cases respectively. York had 27, Durham 27, Halton and Hamilton 12 each. In Waterloo, cases more than doubled to 27 from 13 the previous day.9:56 a.m. GoodLife Fitness has confirmed one employee at its Brampton location has tested positive for COVID-19.Tracy Matthews, vice-president of operations, confirmed the employee works at the Brampton Woodhill Centre Club, at Airport Road and Queen Street.The employee's last day of work was on Sept. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The employee was also at the gym from Sept. 10 to 14, at various times during the day.The facility has undergone a sanitization. GoodLife has been in contact with Peel Public Health and “have not received further direction at this time,” said Matthews.All members who were at the facility at the same time as the employee have already been informed about the outbreak.9:48 a.m. The only thing more difficult than staging next year’s Tokyo Olympics in a pandemic might be convincing sponsors to keep their billions of dollars on board in the midst of economic turbulence and skepticism.To make the point this week, IOC President Thomas Bach will join a number of Japanese government and city officials, local organizers and other top International Olympic Committee leaders in repeating a message they’ve failed to convey forcefully enough to deep-pocketed sponsors: Trust us, the Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23, 2021.Bach and IOC vice-president John Coates — who oversees Tokyo preparations — are expected to speak remotely to Japanese officials as they meet on Thursday and Friday. The agenda includes plotting countermeasures against COVID-19: quarantines, rules for athletes entering the country, testing, vaccines and the presence or absence of fans.Few firm details are expected until late in the year or early in 2021, which accounts for the uncertainty.The subtext is assuring sponsors that the Olympics will happen. Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto has acknowledged the word’s not getting out.“The fact the Olympics are going to take place — the fact itself — is not fully distributed to the public,” Muto, speaking in Japanese, said last week. “People need to be more convinced that, yes, the Olympics will be taking place for sure.”9:37 a.m. Health officials says citizens of India should celebrate the upcoming festive season without large

Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario reporting 478 new cases of COVID-19, 3 new deaths; Number of new active COVID-19 cases among students, staff in publicly funded schools jumps by 51

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

12:03 p.m. Erin O’Toole’s wife, Rebecca, has tested positive for COVID-19. She began showing symptoms this weekend.

10:43 a.m. The number of new active COVID-19 cases among students and staff in publicly funded schools across the province jumped by 51 on Tuesday to a total of 141.

In its latest report released Tuesday morning, the province reported that 26 more students were infected for a total of 59. There were seven more staff members infected for a total of 33 and 18 more individuals for a total of 49.

Two schools are closed — Monsignor Paul Baxter elementary school in Ottawa and Fellowes High School in Pembroke.

There is a lag between the provincial data and news reports on infections in schools. The data is current as of 2 p.m. the previous work day, and doesn’t indicate where the place of transmission occurred.

The numbers the province released on Monday was current as of Friday and didn’t include reports of the Ottawa elementary school closing over the weekend or two Toronto Catholic students testing positive.

Read more from the Star’s Patrick Ho

10:15 a.m. Ontario has marked its highest number of COVID-19 cases since May 2 when the province was under a strict lockdown.

The Ministry of Heath reported 478 new infections Tuesday, an increase from 425 the previous day and the fourth time more than 400 people have tested positive since Friday.

It’s a stunning increase since the same day in August when just 108 new cases were reported. There were 51 new cases in schools and the number of schools with students or staff infected almost doubled to 116 from 60 the previous day. One school each in Ottawa and Pembroke remain closed.

“We are seeing numbers creep up,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.

In an effort to stem the climb, Premier Doug Ford cut the limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 and 25 from 50 and 100 on the weekend. Hinting at more restrictions on the horizon, Ontario’s associate medical officer Dr. Barbara Yaffe warned Monday that “we are actively considering other measures.”

Hospitalizations also increased, with 82 patients requiring hospital care for the virus, up from 65 in Monday’s report and the highest since July 30. There were 24 people in intensive care, an increase of two, and 11 of them on ventilators to breathe, down one.

There were three additional deaths in long-term-care homes, where the number of outbreaks increased to 29 from 23 the day before.

Toronto, Peel and Ottawa remained the hot spots for COVID-19 with 153, 95 and 90 cases respectively. York had 27, Durham 27, Halton and Hamilton 12 each. In Waterloo, cases more than doubled to 27 from 13 the previous day.

9:56 a.m. GoodLife Fitness has confirmed one employee at its Brampton location has tested positive for COVID-19.

Tracy Matthews, vice-president of operations, confirmed the employee works at the Brampton Woodhill Centre Club, at Airport Road and Queen Street.

The employee's last day of work was on Sept. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The employee was also at the gym from Sept. 10 to 14, at various times during the day.

The facility has undergone a sanitization. GoodLife has been in contact with Peel Public Health and “have not received further direction at this time,” said Matthews.

All members who were at the facility at the same time as the employee have already been informed about the outbreak.

9:48 a.m. The only thing more difficult than staging next year’s Tokyo Olympics in a pandemic might be convincing sponsors to keep their billions of dollars on board in the midst of economic turbulence and skepticism.

To make the point this week, IOC President Thomas Bach will join a number of Japanese government and city officials, local organizers and other top International Olympic Committee leaders in repeating a message they’ve failed to convey forcefully enough to deep-pocketed sponsors: Trust us, the Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23, 2021.

Bach and IOC vice-president John Coates — who oversees Tokyo preparations — are expected to speak remotely to Japanese officials as they meet on Thursday and Friday. The agenda includes plotting countermeasures against COVID-19: quarantines, rules for athletes entering the country, testing, vaccines and the presence or absence of fans.

Few firm details are expected until late in the year or early in 2021, which accounts for the uncertainty.

The subtext is assuring sponsors that the Olympics will happen. Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto has acknowledged the word’s not getting out.

“The fact the Olympics are going to take place — the fact itself — is not fully distributed to the public,” Muto, speaking in Japanese, said last week. “People need to be more convinced that, yes, the Olympics will be taking place for sure.”

9:37 a.m. Health officials says citizens of India should celebrate the upcoming festive season without large gatherings.

Autumn is the festival season in many parts of India — a nation where religion, celebrations, rituals are paramount. The month of October has many festivals celebrated in the Indian subcontinent, including Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others.

Dr. V.K Paul, who heads a COVID-19 taskforce in India, says people need to exercise physical distancing and ensure they wear masks while celebrating. He says large gatherings provide the perfect circumstances for the virus to spread.

India confirmed 75,000 coronavirus cases and 1,000 deaths in the last 24 hours. India ranks No. 2 in the world with 5.5 million cases and No. 3 with nearly 89,000 dead, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

9:15 a.m. The award ceremony for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, traditionally held at the Oslo city hall on Dec. 10, will instead be held in scaled-down form at the city’s university because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“It is a strange and challenging year in many ways. We experience the same thing as many others, namely that things must be done in a new way,” Olav Njoelstad, the director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the body that oversees the Nobel Peace Prize, told Norway broadcaster NRK on Tuesday.

Ceremonies for the other prizes — physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine and literature as well as the economic prize — will be awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, on the same day. Organizers also have scheduled smaller ceremonies because of the pandemic.

Since 1901, the prizes have been presented at ceremonies on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. The peace award has been handed out in Oslo — according to Nobel’s will — while the rest have been handed out in Stockholm.

8:45 a.m. NFL coaches thumbed their collective — and exposed — noses at the NFL’s mask mandate in Week 2.

The league responded with hefty fines of $100,000 (U.S.) per coach and $250,000 (U.S.) per club. The first three to get fined were Denver’s Vic Fangio, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan and Seattle’s Pete Carroll, according to a person with knowledge of the punishment who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the coaches were not identified.

The punishment was meted out a week after the NFL reminded team personnel on the sidelines about the rules for wearing face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic, lest they put the fledgling season at risk.

More coaches and clubs can expect similar punishments as the memo last week from Troy Vincent, who oversees the league’s football operations, was largely ignored throughout the weekend.

Among other offenders: Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels, Chiefs defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Colts coach Frank Reich and Rams coach Sean McVay.

8:25 a.m. Amidst increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases daily in Ontario, experts are warning that the continued low rates of death and hospitalization from the disease should not lead to complacency.

Deaths and hospitalizations are what are known as “lagging indicators” — that is, they do not rise and fall immediately with increasing or decreasing rates of infection, but manifest later for serious cases.

In other words, it can take several weeks after infection for a patient to end up in hospital or die.

“We’re seeing cases rise now. It’s entirely possible in two to five weeks we’ll see hospitalizations and the death curve rise as well,” said Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa.

Read the full story from the Star’s Patty Winsa and Kenyon Wallace

8:03 a.m. After weeks of chaos and uncertainty, thousands of students from across the Toronto District School Board will click in — rather than line up — for their first day of virtual school on Tuesday.

When the restrictions tied to COVID-19 forced the closure of schools and daycares last spring, it made some form of online school this fall seem inevitable. But in the weeks leading up to its opening, details around these schools were slow to be released, and twice, in the last two weeks, the start was delayed. The more than 72,000 students signed up for the virtual schools in Toronto will now, in some cases, start nearly a week after their in-person counterparts when they log in Tuesday morning.

On the eve of its opening, students enrolled in the virtual elementary school learned of yet another potential setback. In an email sent to parents late Monday, the TDSB informed them that, due to “ongoing efforts to hire staff for virtual classrooms,” not all elementary students would start synchronous learning by Tuesday; they’d be implementing a rolling start.

Read the full story from the Star’s Johanna Chisholm

8:01 a.m. The Toronto Board of Health has called on the city’s medical officer to publicly release data on workplace outbreaks to protect “vulnerable populations” disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The motion passed unanimously on Monday asks Toronto Public Health to publish information on workplaces hit hard by the coronavirus, as it has done for outbreaks at long-term-care homes, shelters and schools. Currently, little is known or shared publicly about workplace outbreaks apart from those settings.

“Public transparency helps ensure that workers and customers are protected,” said board chair Joe Cressy (Ward 10, Spadina—Fort York).

“We know that COVID-19 disproportionately affects people who are marginalized, and living and working in vulnerable settings,” he added. “Exposing unsafe working conditions is critical to inform public policy to better protect those workers.”

Read the full story from the Star’s Sara Mojtehedzadeh

8 a.m. Kids eating lunch in the hallway. Dedicated music rooms used to fit more students at desks. Students bused far from home to go to school outside their neighbourhood because their local school has long been full.

These are the ongoing challenges faced by students, parents, teachers and administrators at the Toronto District School Board at a time when health and safety in schools are top of mind and development in the city continues at an unprecedented pace.

A new report from the Broadbent Institute and advocacy groups Progress Toronto and Fix Our Schools says that, amid a pandemic, the time is now for the province to allow the TDSB to collect fees from developers to help build and repair packed and ageing schools — money that’s now needed to make necessary adjustments for social distancing, fresh air and more.

Read the full story from the Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro

7:33 a.m. Peel Public Health has announced that two COVID-19 testing sites are available for asymptomatic people in Brampton and Mississauga.

Both locations will be open temporarily, with the Mississauga site opening its doors to the public on Monday.

The Mississauga site is at the Peel Regional Paramedics Kingsway Satellite Station at 7120 Hurontario St. Testing hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. This site will be open until Oct. 4.

The Brampton site, at Greenbriar Recreation Centre, 1100 Central Park Dr., was open on Saturday. Testing hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

7:31 a.m. The Peel-Dufferin branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has seen a large increase in crisis calls since this time last year, and they believe COVID-19 is to blame.

According to Charlene Hayer, director of crisis services at CMHA Peel-Dufferin, there has been a “significant increase in the volume of crisis calls,” about a 52 per cent increase since the year prior.

There are a variety of reasons for the calls but she said the main concerns being expressed are typically depressed mood, anxiety and substance abuse issues.

“Certainly, in the current environment, people are definitely more socially isolated,” said Heyer, adding that can contribute to overall feelings of anxiety.

Calls are received through the triage unit, which runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday.

One day in August, the triage team had 277 incoming and outgoing calls in 24 hours, a “record-breaking day.”

Though CMHA does not have formal reports, there have been significant changes in crisis calls since the pandemic hit in the spring.

7:26 a.m. The Beer Store announced Sept. 18 that an employee at one of its York Region outlets has tested positive for the virus.

The staff member was working at the location at 15820 Bayview Ave., Aurora, and The Beer Store decided, in consultation with York Region Public Health, to close the shop before reopening on Sept. 19.

All potentially affected staff will now self isolate as a precautionary measure, the store says.

7:14 a.m. Five players have been withdrawn from the European Masters snooker tournament as a result of positive tests for the coronavirus.

Daniel Wells and Gary Wilson were positive after arriving at the venue in Milton Keynes, England. Three players who came into contact with either of the pair — Elliot Slessor, David Lilley and Michael White — were also withdrawn from the event.

All five must self-isolate.

All players and officials have been tested at snooker events since the sport resumed in June with spectators after the coronavirus outbreak. The European Masters is the first ranking event of the season.

6:45 a.m.: The Spanish capital is poised to extend its restrictions on movement to more neighbourhoods due to a surge in new cases in other districts, despite an outcry from residents over discrimination.

Police on Monday deployed to 37 working-class neighbourhoods that have seen 14-day transmission rates above 1,000 per 100,000 inhabitants. People are required to justify trips out of those neighbourhoods.

Locals complained that the restrictions stigmatize the poor, who often live in more cramped conditions and rely on public transport to get to their jobs.

On Tuesday, 16 more districts exceeded that transmission rate threshold, and Madrid’s regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, said the possibility of extending the restrictions was on the table.

6:31 a.m.: President Rodrigo Duterte says he has extended a state of calamity in the entire Philippines by a year to allow the government to draw emergency funds faster to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and harness the police and military to maintain law and order.

Duterte first placed the country under a state of calamity in March when the number of confirmed infections was approaching 200 with about a dozen deaths. The country now has more than 290,000 confirmed cases, the highest in Southeast Asia, with nearly 5,000 deaths.

The tough-talking president lashed anew at critics in his televised remarks late Monday for accusing his administration of not doing enough to contain the outbreak.

“What ‘enough’ do you want? There are hospitals, beds and funeral parlours. Everything is there,” Duterte said, specifying Vice-President Leni Robredo, who leads the opposition, in his tirade.

5:39 a.m.: Hollywood’s unions have announced that they have reached an agreement on pandemic protocols with major studios that will allow the broad resumption of production of films and television after six months of stagnant sets and widespread unemployment.

The Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Basic Crafts unions and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists on Monday jointly announced the deal reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers after months of planning and negotiating.

The deal includes mandatory and comprehensive use of personal protective gear and testing of cast and crew members, and a dedicated coronavirus supervisor to oversee it all.

It requires the use of a “zone system” that strictly limits interactions between people on sets based on their job’s requirements. Those who must deal with more people will be tested more frequently and have more strict protective equipment and spacing requirements. Actors will be tested especially often because their on-camera work won’t allow for many protective measures.

5:37 a.m.: India on Tuesday confirmed over 75,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 1,000 deaths in the past 24 hours.

With more than 5.5 million cases, India is behind only the United States in total number of confirmed infections. India’s death toll from the virus is nearly 89,000.

So far, nearly 76% of the new virus cases are concentrated in 10 states, with Maharashtra in central India accounting for almost a quarter of new infections on Monday.

Daily new infections in India have been hovering around 90,000 for the past few days, but experts point out that testing still varies from state to state. And new surges have been detected in states that had so far been left relatively unscathed by the virus.

5:31 a.m.: The Pakistani prime minister’s health adviser says authorities have begun much-awaited final-phase testing of a Chinese-made vaccine against the coronavirus.

In Tuesday’s televised comments, Faisal Sultan, who advises Prime Minister Imran Khan on health issues, said the clinical trials will continue for about 12 weeks.

The latest development comes weeks after Pakistan approved advanced clinical trials for potential vaccines at the country’s main health facilities. Pakistan has said the vaccine produced by CanSinoBio, a China-based vaccine developer, and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology will be used during the clinical trials.

5:26 a.m.: The coronavirus pandemic has fractured global relationships. But as director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong has helped to steer Africa’s 54 countries into an alliance praised as responding better than some richer countries, including the United States.

A former U.S. CDC official, he modeled Africa’s version after his ex-employer. Nkengasong is pained to see the U.S. agency struggle. In an interview with The Associated Press, he didn’t name U.S President Donald Trump but cited “factors we all know.”

While the U.S. nears 200,000 COVID-19 deaths and the world approaches 1 million, Africa’s surge has been levelling off. Its 1.4 million confirmed cases are far from the horrors predicted. Antibody testing is expected to show many more infections, but most cases are asymptomatic. Just over 34,000 deaths are confirmed on the continent of 1.3 billion people.

5:20 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce new restrictions on social interactions Tuesday as the government tries to slow the spread of COVID-19 before it spirals out of control.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told Sky News that pubs and restaurants across England will be ordered to close at 10 p.m. and people who can work from home will be encouraged to do so, reversing a government drive to get people back to their offices and other places of employment.

Gove said reducing “social mixing” was key to slowing the spread of the virus. He said it was impossible to say how long the restrictions would be in place.

The prime minister is set to release further details when he speaks to the House of Commons at around 12:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) after meeting the Cabinet and the government’s COBRA emergency committee. He will later deliver a televised address to the nation.

5:14 a.m.: Mobile apps tracing new COVID-19 cases were touted as a key part of Europe’s plan to beat the coronavirus outbreak. Seven months into the pandemic, virus cases are surging again and the apps have not been widely adopted due to privacy concerns, technical problems and lack of interest from the public.

Britain, Portugal, and Finland this month became the latest to unveil smartphone apps that alert people if they’ve been near someone who turned out to be infected so they can seek treatment or isolate — a key step in breaking the chain of contagion.

But a few countries have scrapped their tracing apps and others that have rolled them out have found so few users that the technology is not very effective. The adoption rate goes from about a third of the population in Finland and Ireland, to 22% in Germany and a meagre 4% in France.

5:11 a.m.: British Columbia’s election is entering its first full day with the three party leaders embarking on a campaign against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C. Premier John Horgan made the snap election call on Monday, conceding that he struggled with whether it’s the right time for a campaign because of the pandemic.

As the leader of a minority NDP government, Horgan says he decided the province needs more stability to face the health and economic challenges ahead and waiting another year to hold the election when it was scheduled would be wasting time.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized Horgan’s decision, saying the election is unnecessary during the pandemic.

The campaign begins as the number of cases of COVID-19 rises in the province, with record daily infection rates recorded.

5 a.m.: A new survey suggests the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases across Canada comes with a similar increase in support for the mandatory wearing of masks in public places.

The online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies says 83 per cent of respondents feel governments should order people to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.

That represented a 16 per cent increase from July, before the recent rise in COVID-19 cases has sparked concerns many parts of the country are entering the dreaded second wave of the pandemic.

Even more — 87 per cent — felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19 while 21 per cent felt it was an infringement on personal freedoms, a decline of six per cent from July.

As for the anti-mask protests that have happened in various parts of the country in recent weeks, 88 per cent of respondents said they opposed the demonstrations while 12 per cent supported them.

The online poll was conducted Sept. 18 to 20 and surveyed 1,538 adult Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

4 a.m.: Ontario is expected to announce its COVID-19 fall preparedness plan today.

Premier Doug Ford has promised the plan will help the province grapple with a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus.

The strategy comes as daily virus case counts continue to climb to levels not seen for months in Ontario.

Ford has been under pressure to release the updated plan as opposition politicians say it should have come weeks earlier.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says parts of the plan are currently being implemented, including increased testing capacity.

The new plan comes as Ontario continues to struggle with long line ups at some of its 147 COVID-19 assessment centres.

Monday 7:11 p.m. There have been another four deaths in B.C. due to COVID-19 complications.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says two people died in the Vancouver Coastal health region over the past three days, one in Fraser Health and one in the Northern Health region — only the second death in that area since the pandemic began.

Another 366 positive cases have been added over three days for a total of 8,208.

There are 60 people in hospital and almost 6,000 people are considered recovered.

Click here for more of Monday’s COVID-19 coverage.

Source : Toronto Star More