Canada’s chief public health officer is encouraging Canadians not to dial back health and wellness visits despite ongoing restrictions across the country and COVID-19 concerns.
“As we continue to follow public health advice and limit our outings to keep everyone safer, we should not let that extend to the health visits that are necessary for maintaining our well-being now and into the future,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement on Sunday.
“Now, as ever, it is important to seek timely care for urgent medical concerns, as well as to maintain prevention and wellness visits.”
Tam said health and social services providers have “a range of safety measures” to curb potential COVID-19 risks — such as staggered in-person appointments or virtual options — and she reiterated the importance of mental health during the pandemic.
✔️Groceries, ✔️pharmacy, ✔️curbside restaurant pick up – are you missing something? Routine appointments with your health professional are essential visits for keeping your vaccinations up-to-date. Getting your vaccines protects others too! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VaccinesWork?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VaccinesWork</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CommunityImmunity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CommunityImmunity</a> <a href=”https://t.co/fDAID6oxZw”>pic.twitter.com/fDAID6oxZw</a>
“Limiting the overall health impacts of COVID-19 means we must maintain regular appointments and not delay reaching out for health, mental health and substance use supports for ourselves and our loved ones,” she said.
“All of these medical visits are essential outings.”
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What’s happening across Canada
As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 866,208 cases of COVID-19, with 30,731 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 21,994.
In British Columbia, Vancouver police say they have fined the host of a gender reveal party $ 2,300 after breaking up the event of 17 people.
Alberta reported 301 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths on Sunday.
Saskatchewan confirmed 141 new cases but no new deaths.
Manitoba registered 50 new cases and two more deaths. With numbers continuing to decline, the provincial government is considering a broad swath of relaxed COVID-19 rules that could increase outdoor gathering sizes, let families form a “bubble” with another household and see almost all establishments allowed to reopen, including in the retail and indoor recreation sectors.
WATCH | Manitoba government considers relaxing COVID-19 rules:
Ontario crossed the 300,000 mark for total number of cases on Sunday after reporting 1,062 new cases and 20 more deaths.
Starting Monday, restrictions will loosen in Niagara Region; Chatham-Kent; Middlesex-London; Southwestern; Haldimand-Norfolk; Huron Perth; and Grey Bruce public health regions.
Quebec saw 737 new cases and nine more deaths.
The province will kick off its mass vaccination program in earnest on Monday, with several large clinics in the Montreal area opening their doors to residents age 80 and older who have booked appointments through the province’s website. In the rest of Quebec, the vaccination appointments are being accepted for those born in or before 1936.
New Brunswick‘s death toll rose to 27 after the province saw one more fatality.
Prince Edward Island is entering a 72-hour lockdown starting at midnight as the province struggles to contain an outbreak of COVID-19. The short-term public health order was announced Sunday afternoon as officials reported five new infections of the disease, for a total of 17 cases in the past five days.
Health officials have identified two clusters of COVID-19 in the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown, and say it’s possible the island has community spread of the virus, as many infections cannot be linked to travel.
Nova Scotia identified three new cases, a tally that comes as the Halifax region and some surrounding communities entered a second day of tighter restrictions. The province said it completed a record-high 4,839 tests on Saturday.
Newfoundland and Labrador saw seven new cases. The province also said a person with COVID-19 has died but added that the individual was admitted to hospital for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 113.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with 64.3 million of them listed as recovered on a tracking site maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.5 million, according to the U.S.-based university.
In Asia, Thailand started its first vaccinations on Sunday with 200 public health officials receiving the Sinovac vaccine from China. The country has so far secured two million doses from Sinovac and 61 million doses from Oxford-AstraZeneca.
In Europe, Britain’s government says families with children in school will be provided with free coronavirus home test kits as part of plans for schools to reopen beginning on March 8. The tests will also be offered to adults working with schools, including bus drivers.
In the Americas, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, has entered a two-week lockdown, joining several states in adopting measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as intensive care beds begin to fill in some important cities. President Jair Bolsonaro again criticized such measures and threatened to cut off federal emergency pandemic assistance to states resorting to lockdowns.
In Africa, South Africa has signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to secure 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, President Cyril Ramaphosa said. Ramaphosa added that the cabinet had decided to ease restrictions on movement and activity due to a decline in coronavirus infections, downgrading the national alert level from 3 to 1.
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