Updated throughout the day on Thursday, April 7. Questions/comments: email@example.com
- Who is eligible for a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose across Canada
- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tests positive
- Videos: Opposition parties blast CAQ on treatment of elderly Quebecers
- Tensions mount as National Assembly debates law to end of Quebec state of emergency
- 28 more deaths reported as Quebec hospitalizations continue to rise
- Liberals renew call for public inquiry amid new Herron revelations
- Montreal pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations rising during sixth wave
- ‘There must be accountability’ for Herron deaths, says lawyer for families
- Ontario opposition parties call for masking rules, PCR access to be reinstated
- When do we stop boosting? Provinces expand fourth doses but not everyone needs one
- Opinion: Quebec health care plan fails to respond to Indigenous concerns
- Shanghai vows to improve food deliveries as discontent grows over COVID curbs
- Japan arrests four of ‘QAnon’-style group for vaccine protest: reports
- Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing
- Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter
Who is eligible for a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose across Canada
From The Canadian Press:
Provinces and territories are expanding eligibility for fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to millions more Canadians.
This week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended that second boosters be administered to residents aged 70 and over.
Here’s where things stand so far:
Newfoundland and Labrador: Fourth doses are available to immunocompromised people at least 22 weeks after their previous dose.
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island: All are working on updating guidance, with announcements expected in the coming days.
Quebec: Fourth doses are being given to anyone 70 and older, long-term care home and retirement home residents and immunocompromised people. Those aged 60 and older are to be eligible for a second booster starting next week.
Ontario: Fourth doses are open to anyone 60 and older at a recommended interval of five months after the initial booster shot; First Nations, Inuit and Metis people and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and older; long-term care home and retirement home residents; and immunocompromised people.
Manitoba: Fourth doses are being offered to residents of personal care homes and elderly persons supportive housing and assisted living; people aged 70 or older who live in the community; and First Nations, Inuit and Metis people aged 50 or older, regardless of where they live. The province said the second booster should be given at least six months after the last booster dose.
Saskatchewan: Fourth doses are being given to residents of long-term care, special care and personal care homes, and to recipients of stem cell and organ transplants, and to those who are severely immunocompromised.
Alberta: Fourth doses are available to those 12 and over with an immunocompromised condition. Starting next week, fourth doses will be available to all seniors in congregate care, those who are 70 and older as well as Indigenous people 65 and older. Eligible people can book their fourth dose provided at least five months have passed since their third.
British Columbia: A fourth dose is being made available to seniors, starting with residents of long-term care and assisted-living homes. People over age 70 in the community, Indigenous people 55 and up and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will also be included in the vaccination campaign that will ramp up through the spring.
Yukon: Starting next week, Yukon will begin offering fourth doses of the vaccine to those who are immunocompromised, over the age of 70, or living in a long-term care facility.
Northwest Territories: The Northwest Territories is offering fourth doses of the vaccine to immunocompromised people 12 and up, people 60 years of age and older living in long-term care and all those 80 and older.
Nunavut: A spokesperson from Nunavut’s Department of Health says no decision has been made yet on when fourth doses of the vaccine will be available.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tests positive
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic, her spokesman said on Thursday, after more than half a dozen other federal officials tested positive in recent days, the Reuters news agency is reporting.
The Democratic leader tested positive after a negative test result earlier in the week, spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement.
More than half a dozen senior officials, including members of Democratic President Joe Biden’s Cabinet and at least seven lawmakers, have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, even as caseloads drop across the country.
Pelosi, 82, stood near Biden briefly during a ceremony to sign a postal reform bill on Wednesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers close contact for COVID exposure to be within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more.
Pelosi also attended an event on the Affordable Care Act at the White House on Tuesday with Biden and former President Barack Obama.
The White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the latest COVID test for Biden, 79.
Pelosi is second in line to become president, behind Vice President Kamala Harris. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who is seventh in the line of succession, tested positive on Wednesday and is also asymptomatic, the Justice Department said.
A congressional delegation trip to Asia that Pelosi had planned to lead has been postponed, Hammill said.
“The speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided,” Hammill said.
She will quarantine according to federal health guidelines, he said.
The House continues to allow remote voting so lawmakers can casts ballots while they are in isolation.
Videos: Opposition parties blast CAQ on treatment of elderly Quebecers
Quebec’s treatment of seniors is heartbreaking, says Québec solidaire’s Vincent Marissal
The buck stops with the government for CHSLD Herron tragedy, Québec solidaire says
‘The information was there’: Quebec Liberals react to latest CHSLD Herron revelations
Liberals call for public inquiry into handling of COVID-19 in long-term care homes
Tensions mount as National Assembly debates law to end of Quebec state of emergency
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé is behaving like a bully during hearings on a law to lift the province’s two-year-old state of emergency, Quebec Liberal MNA Monsef Derraji charged on Thursday.
Chart: Current situation vs. one year ago
Charts: Quebec cases, deaths
Charts: Quebec’s vaccination campaign
28 more deaths reported as Quebec hospitalizations continue to rise
Quebec has recorded 3,777 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced this morning.
The case tally only includes people who received PCR tests at government screening clinics. It does not accurately reflect the number of cases since it does not include the results of home rapid tests.
In addition, 28 new deaths were reported, bringing the cumulative total to 14,482.
Hospitalizations continue to rise and are at their highest point in five weeks.
The number of vaccines administered daily is also on an upward trajectory now that Quebecers who are 70 and older can get their fourth vaccine doses (also known as second boosters).
The number of doses administered yesterday was the highest since mid-February.
Some other key statistics from Quebec’s latest COVID-19 update:
- Montreal Island: 774 cases, 8 deaths.
- Net increase in hospitalizations: 42, for total of 1,582 (221 entered hospital, 179 discharged).
- Net decrease in intensive care patients: 2, for total of 64 (11 entered ICUs, 13 discharged).
- 23,006 PCR tests conducted Tuesday.
- 31,225 vaccine doses administered over previous 24 hours.
Liberals renew call for public inquiry amid new Herron revelations
Quebec’s Liberal opposition is renewing its call for a public inquiry in the wake of revelations that raise new questions about the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s response to the crisis at the Herron CHSLD during the first wave.
“We are asking for an inquiry, a political inquiry – you know why? Because the province of Quebec had many situations like that,” said Enrico Ciccone, the West Island Liberal MNA whose Marquette riding encompasses the Dorval long-term care home.
Speaking to reporters in Quebec City, he said a full-fledged public inquiry is needed because the coroner has only been tasked with focusing on a handful of CHSLDs during the spring of 2020.
“If we have the inquiry, we will know exactly what happened not only in Herron… but everywhere in the province.”
An inquiry could help “make sure that it never happens again… We owe it to the families and the ones who died in miserable conditions, we owe it to them,” Ciccone said.
He added: “What we’re seeing now in Herron is horrible, but it happened everywhere else. Things like that happened in other places, maybe not at the same level, but they happened. Some mistakes were made, and we cannot, as legislators, accept that. We have to go through to the end to make sure that nobody else dies in those conditions… The CAQ won’t take responsibility, and that is not acceptable.”
Ciccone said emails that surfaced this week from March 2020 show the situation was initially ignored by senior members of Premier François Legault’s cabinet, including current Seniors Minister Marguerite Blais and Danielle McCann, the former health minister who is now minister of higher education.
“The important thing is that the information… was there, there was a problem, there was an e-mail saying (the situation was) urgent. A week later, there was another e-mail saying: You know what, there is a problem, we will not be able to give the services to (people). And 12 days later, (Blais) woke up, after an article in the newspaper.
Blais should have taken charge, he added: “You have to take charge – you have to make a call every day. What did she do on the 30th, 31st, the 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd, the 5th, the 6th, the 7th, the 8th, the 9th? What did she do? Nothing.
“Imagine, 12 days for people, citizens in their rooms, with no service, people were dying, people were dying, and she didn’t do anything. She didn’t (pick up) the phone and say: ‘Do you need anything? Can I do something? Can my team do something?’ No, all she said was: (the local health authority is) going to take care of it, that’s fine, my job is done.”
Radio-Canada this week reported on a series of emails that appear to contradict the version of events that Blais and McCann gave when they testified before a coroner’s inquiry. The emails indicate the ministers were informed in late March 2020 about the situation and the Herron. At the inquiry, they said they learned the extent of the problems only after the Montreal Gazette broke the story.
Here’s how the April 10, 2020 Gazette story described the situation at Herron: “A privately run seniors’ residence in Dorval that is grappling with an outbreak of COVID-19 has been described as a ‘concentration camp’ — with unfed and soiled elderly residents inside — by health professionals who came to those residents’ rescue.”
Forty-seven Herron residents died during the first wave.
Yesterday, McCann, who was demoted from the health department in June 2020 and replaced by current Health Minister Christian Dubé, said she would not answer reporters’ questions about her initial response to the Herron situation.
She said the coroner “has all the information. I was there for a few hours. I answered all her questions… We gave them all the material.”
Montreal pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations rising during sixth wave
After the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 decreased as the pandemic’s fifth wave subsided, doctors say a slight rise in pediatric admissions is once again being noticed in Montreal.
Though the majority of cases in children remain mild, both the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Ste-Justine Hospital have seen an uptick in admissions in recent weeks.
‘There must be accountability’ for Herron deaths, says lawyer for families
Health officials who took charge of the Herron residence in the spring of 2020 must be held accountable for the deaths of dozens of seniors under their watch, says a lawyer representing four families who lost loved ones.
“There must be accountability, especially in the context of the health system, where institutions hold the lives of vulnerable people in their hands,” Patrick Martin-Ménard said Wednesday.
“People were found in their feces, dehydrated, malnourished, with sores and bandages that hadn’t been changed,” he said.
“They were literally abandoned … because there was no one in this governing structure who took decisive action to protect them.”
Ontario opposition parties call for masking rules, PCR access to be reinstated
Ontario’s two main opposition parties are calling for the government to reinstate or continue several public health measures, such as mandatory masking, in order to blunt the sixth wave of COVID-19, The Canadian Press reports.
Hospitalizations are up 40 per cent week over week and wastewater surveillance suggests COVID-19 activity is higher than it was at the peak of the fifth wave in January.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for the government to either reinstate mandatory masking in public places or explain why they won’t.
She also says masks should be required in schools and the mandate should not be lifted for hospitals, long-term care homes and public transit on April 27 as planned.
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca also says ending mask mandates in those places on April 27 is a “huge mistake” and masks should be required again in essential indoor settings such as schools, pharmacies and grocery stores.
Both Horwath and Del Duca are also urging the government to broadly expand access to PCR testing so people know for sure when they are sick or contagious.
When do we stop boosting? Provinces expand fourth doses but not everyone needs one
The entire country could see a broader and massive second booster rollout come fall, or sooner, even as it struggles to muster interest in first boosters — and the dash to boost again has some wondering how many rounds will be enough.
Opinion: Quebec health care plan fails to respond to Indigenous concerns
“The Legault government has once again broken a promise to Indigenous people, scandalously disregarding the Viens Commission’s 2019 call for action to enshrine the notion of cultural safety in Quebec’s law on health and social services.”
Shanghai vows to improve food deliveries as discontent grows over COVID curbs
The Shanghai government said on Thursday it was trying its best to improve the distribution of food and essential goods to locked-in residents, responding to growing public discontent as COVID curbs stretched into the 11th day.
Japan arrests four of ‘QAnon’-style group for vaccine protest: reports
Four members of a group said to be a Japanese version of QAnon, which has frequently protested against COVID-19 vaccinations, were arrested on Thursday for intruding on a clinic where vaccinations were taking place, media reports said.
Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing
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