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Quebec reports record COVID cases, Ontario adds measures to LTC

Ontario said it was temporarily pausing general visitors from entering long-term care homes
People wait to receive a COVID-19 booster vaccine dose at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Some provinces announced new measures for long-term care homes as others reported record-breaking COVID-19 infections propelled by the highly infectious Omicron variant.

New measures for long-term care homes were rolled out in Ontario while Quebec reported a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Ontario said it was temporarily pausing general visitors from entering long-term care homes starting Thursday, with two designated caregivers per resident exempt from the new rule.

Rod Phillips, Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, said Tuesday that there were 41 homes with outbreaks across the province, up from 37 the previous day.

While 93 residents and 161 staff have tested positive for COVID-19, none are hospitalized, he said.

About 84 per cent of eligible residents and 43 per cent of long-term care workers had received COVID-19 vaccine booster doses as of last week, he said.

But the high transmissibility of Omicron, coupled with vast spread of the virus within the community, warranted new measures, Phillips added.

“We must remain vigilant.”

The province recorded a total of 8,825 new COVID-19 cases.

Quebec reported 12,833 new cases and 702 hospitalizations, with 15 more deaths linked to the virus.

Nova Scotia health officials reported 561 new cases of COVID-19.

Canada has logged more than two million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. The website wasn’t updated over the holiday period.

Health experts warn that COVID-19 data is clouded with holidays, and hospitals as well as centres reaching testing limits, so the real case count is likely to be much higher.

The rising infection rate has begun to dampen new year celebrations with one city in Ontario calling off its plans.

Mississauga cancelled its fireworks celebrations and will hold a virtual countdown instead amid concerns of spiking COVID-19 cases there.

Premier Justin Trudeau urged Canadians on Twitter to continue to get vaccinated.

“The year may be coming to an end - but, with Omicron spreading quickly around the world, it’s clear that this pandemic isn’t,” Trudeau said.

“But we can finish the fight against COVID-19 if we keep working together. So do your part: get vaccinated, and get your booster when it’s your turn.”

READ MORE: Canada records more than 2M COVID-19 cases; health-care workers brace for spike

The Canadian Press

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