Atlantic Canada health officials say hospitals are approaching or exceeding capacity as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow.
Nova Scotia reported 1,145 new lab-confirmed cases on Saturday. The county releases brief updates over the weekend that do not include current hospitalization numbers.
Dr. Kirk Magee, who oversees emergency care at Halifax-area hospitals, said that while the Omicron variant may not send more people to hospital, it has left the health system “overwhelmed to its limits,” largely due to hundreds of Hospital staff who have been reassigned or sidelined due to COVID-19 infection or the need for isolation.
Nova Scotia Public Health says it now limits contact tracing to long-term care settings, health care facilities, correctional facilities, shelters and other group environments.
“Omicron has a significant impact on our healthcare workforce,” Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for the county, said at a news conference Wednesday, referring to the more contagious type of coronavirus. “Our hospitals are over capacity, and for Nova Scotians that means waiting too long to get care or cancel long-awaited tests or procedures.
“The truth is there is very little flexibility in our health system at the moment.”
Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, the county updated the numbers Saturday to indicate it had 421 new confirmed cases and one new death.
The number of people in hospital rose from 69 to 80, with 17 in intensive care and 11 on ventilators.
Dorothy Sheppard, New Brunswick’s health minister, said Friday that she believes the health system will likely soon be “tested like never before,” because nearly 350 health workers in the province are out of work because of the virus.
The Vitalité Health Network says that half of its hospitals have an occupancy rate of over 100 per cent. Miramichi Regional Hospital is also running at overcapacity, with other hospitals telling the Horizon Health Network their capacity levels range from 90 to 97 percent.
What’s happening all over Canada
With the ability to run lab tests so strained and increasingly restricted, experts say the number of true cases is likely much higher than has been reported. Hospitalization data is also developing regionally, with many counties saying they will provide numbers separating the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 from those hospitalized with another medical problem who have also tested positive for COVID-19.
For more information about what’s happening in your community — including details about the outbreak, testing capacity and local restrictions — click on the regional coverage below.
You can also read more from Public Health Canada, which gives a detailed look at each region – Including Seven-day average test-positive rates – In his daily epidemiological updates.
Ontario At least 11,959 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Sunday, as experts continue to warn that the true number is believed to be much higher given reduced access to PCR testing.
The number of people hospitalized as a result of the virus is now at 2,419, down slightly from Saturday’s epidemic high of 2,594. However, that number is likely an underestimate given that not all county hospitals provide numbers on weekends. The number of people in intensive care units as a result of COVID-19 has now reached 412, up from 385 on Saturday.
in a QuebecAnd the number of The number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 increased by 163 to a total of 2,296 on Saturday. Health officials are reporting 245 patients in intensive care, an increase of 16 from Friday.
The county also reported 44 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Saturday, the highest daily death toll in nearly a year.
in a British Columbia, officials announced that children will return to learning in the classroom on Monday under enhanced safety measures, despite the increase in transmission caused by Omicron.
In the prairie, it was Saskatchewan The government refused to limit gatherings despite a warning from its chief medical officer; More than 900 healthcare workers in Manitoba Test results have been positive over the holidays, according to the county health organization; and expectations from Alberta The Health Services Early Warning System suggests that, within two weeks, the current wave could send more people to hospital than at any point in the pandemic.
In the Atlantic Territories, visitor restrictions have been expanded to include inpatients and long-term care residents at many hospitals in Nova ScotiaThe northern area. New restrictions in the province are coming Prince Edward Island An outbreak was reported at a nursing facility in Miskos that has so far affected three employees and eight residents. Meanwhile, labor groups in Newfoundland and Labrador They are demanding 10 days of paid sick leave for workers because thousands across the county are sick with COVID-19 or are self-isolating.
In the North, there is a mixture of relief, resignation, and disappointment from students, parents and teachers as schools across the country Northwest Territories Back to online learning this week.
What is happening around the world
As of Sunday morning, more than 305.3 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracking tool. The reported global death toll has reached more than 5.4 million.
in a Asia, the main port in Tianjin may face the first outbreak of an omicron of any size in China, less than four weeks before the opening of the Winter Olympics in neighboring Beijing.
The city began mass testing for its 14 million residents Sunday after a group of 20 children and adults tested positive for COVID-19, including at least two using the Omicron variant. Officials said the virus is spreading, so the number of cases could increase.
China has reinforced its strict zero-tolerance strategy in the run-up to the Olympics, which will open on February 4. The Chinese capital is located 115 kilometers northwest of Tianjin, and many people regularly travel back and forth by car or at a high altitude. Express train connection takes less than an hour.
in a EuropeBritish Education Minister Nadim Al-Zahawi said on Sunday that reducing the period of self-isolation for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 from seven days to five would help a British workforce that has been hit hard by the absence.
As Omicron continues to spread in Britain, many businesses, schools and hospitals are struggling with staff shortages, leading to increased calls for isolation rules after testing positive for further reductions.
ItaliaMeanwhile, it will tighten its COVID-19 restrictions on the unvaccinated on Monday. Anyone wishing to eat in a restaurant, ride a public bus or go skiing must show proof of vaccination or that they have done so Recently recovered from illness.
In the Asia Pacific The Australian government claims it has not given tennis star Novak Djokovic assurances that a medical exemption he said he should enter Australia without a Covid-19 vaccine will be accepted, government lawyers said in a court filing, Sunday.
The filing before Monday’s court hearing was in defense of the government’s decision to bar entry to the world’s #1 player due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.
Djokovic is hoping to win his 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on January 17. But instead of training, he was booked into a hotel used for asylum seekers. He is contesting the decision to cancel his visa after he was stopped on arrival at Melbourne airport early Thursday.
Djokovic, an outspoken opponent of vaccine mandates, declined to disclose the status of vaccination or the reason for seeking medical exemption from Australia’s vaccine rules. But his legal team said in a court filing on Saturday that the Serb was granted an exemption due to contracting and recovering from the virus in December.