Canada's COVID-19 cases: One Manitoban's attendance at gathering leads to 40 infections; 'Alarming' rise in cases on Indigenous reserves

Bryan Meler
·Associate Editor, Yahoo News Canada
·11 mins read

For today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

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20,541 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 191,730 diagnoses, 9,699 deaths and 161,490 recoveries (as of Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Alberta - 2,738 active cases (21,443 total cases, including 288 deaths, 18,417 resolved)

  • British Columbia - 1,494 active cases (11,034 total cases, 250 deaths, 9,257 resolved)

  • Manitoba - 1,527 active cases (3,098 total cases, 38 deaths, 1,533 resolved)

  • New Brunswick - 89 active cases (292 cases, 2 deaths, 201 resolved)

  • Newfoundland and Labrador - 9 active case (284 total cases, 4 deaths, 271 resolved)

  • Northwest Territories - 0 active cases (5 total cases, 5 resolved)

  • Nova Scotia - 3 active cases (1,092 total cases, 65 deaths 1,024 resolved)

  • Ontario - 5,883 active cases (62,196 total cases, 3,022 deaths, 53,291 resolved)

  • Prince Edward Island - 3 active case (63 total cases, 60 resolved)

  • Quebec - 8,491 active cases (89,963 total cases, 6,005 deaths, 75,467 resolved)

  • Saskatchewan - 271 active cases (2,232 total cases, 25 deaths, 1,936 resolved)

  • Yukon - 0 active cases (15 total cases, 15 resolved)

  • Nunavut - 0 active cases (no resident cases)

  • CFB Trenton - 0 active cases (13 total cases, 13 resolved)

Manitoba reports a record-high increase in daily cases for third straight occasion

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, announced that labs have identified 173 new cases, which marks the third straight day that the province has recorded a record-high increase.

Of the latest cases, 133 were identified in Winnipeg, which will face increased restrictions that will be announced in the upcoming days, said Roussin. There are now also a record-high number of active cases in the province; of those 1,527 currently infected individuals, at least 1,300 are in the Winnipeg health region.

“We've lost our way with the fundamentals at this point,” said Roussin. “So, we're going to meet the act, to be able to bring down these numbers before continued escalation.”

Over the past couple of weeks, Manitoba’s top doctor has been warning residents about disturbing trends, such as people going out while symptomatic. On Thursday, he provided another example in which a person attended a social gathering while symptomatic on Sept. 11. They were diagnosed four days later, by which point they had 13 contacts.

In just 12 days, it led to another 40 infections and 243 close contacts, all of whom had to self-isolate. Contacts were in the range of 10 to 86 years old. One of the cases had at least 50 close contacts.

“I think this shows that we have a long ways to improve to get back to those fundamentals,” said Roussin. “We have multiple examples like that.”

Credit: Manitoba Government
Credit: Manitoba Government

Earlier this month, Roussin also described one individual who went to multiple bars in a night while symptomatic, which led to “probably countless contacts.”

Two weeks ago, the province imposed additional restrictions in Winnipeg and surrounding communities, such as mask use in indoor public places and a 10-person limit for gatherings. Last week, licensed restaurants, bars, pubs in the region were forced to start closing earlier, while alcohol sales have been prohibited after 10 p.m. It came after half of the city’s cases were linked to those type of venues.

With cases still on an upward trajectory, Roussin said additional restrictions are needed, but the WInnipeg metropolitan region won’t be moving to “red,” the highest level on its COVID-19 restrictions scale. The new restrictions are expected to have “capacity limitations across multiple sectors,” such as personal care homes, said Roussin.

Along with the record-high increase of 173 cases, one more person has died in Manitoba. The latest victim was a man in his 40s with underlying health conditions. It increases the province’s death toll to 38, which includes eight deaths in the past seven days.

‘Alarming’ rise in cases on Indigenous reserves leads to record-high active case count

Across Indigenous reserves in Canada, there are now 209 active cases of COVID-19, the most ever throughout the pandemic, according to Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller.

It comes after 126 new cases were reported between Oct. 4-10, the most ever in a weekly stretch. Throughout the pandemic, there have been 906 cases on reserves, which has led to 13 fatalities. At the moment, 66 of those active cases are hospitalized.

“The 960 cases that have hit Indigenous communities on reserves is a snapshot of the Indigenous population,” said Miller, while noting that it “far understates” all those who live in urban centres, and not on reserves.

“These numbers are troubling. We’ve already seen the consequences with a surge in cases,” he later said in the press conference in French. “Our priority has to be to insure the health and safety of Indigenous people.”

With a rise in cases nationwide, Indigenous communities are also seeing concerning trends develop. Outbreaks have developed in Indigenous communities such as York Landing First Nation and Little Grand Rapids First Nation in Manitoba.

In Nunavik, Que., there also remains five active cases out of 28 total. In Saskatchewan, there’s been “alarming spread” after a gathering at Prince Albert Full Gospel Outreach Centre. It’s led to at least 25 cases, which includes some on First Nations.

“It’s very alarming. The nature of the transmission — community gatherings, weddings, funerals, gatherings of a religious nature, people having parties; things we all do — is something that is very scary,” said Miller.

At least 144 medical relief shelters have been supplied to reserves, to help with needs such as isolation efforts. But it doesn’t always fix overcrowding problems, which have especially impacted households with multiple generations.

On Thursday, Miller said that he and Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, have organized a meeting with other ministers and Indigenous representatives and health professionals to start the work to eliminate the systemic racism that has been experienced by Indigneouos peoples in Canada’s health care system.

The meeting will present an opportunity for Indigenous leaders to share their experiences and offer their advice on what changes need to be made.

“Racism kills and systemic racism kills systematically,” said Miller, in a speech that highlighted the recent case of Joyce Echaquan. “What we know is that when Indigenous peoples have control and care over their health care, the results are better.”

Worrisome stretch continues in Ontario with another 700-plus increase; 109 new school cases

On Thursday, Oct. 15, Ontario reported 783 new cases of COVID-19, along with five fatalities and 779 recoveries.

There are now 5,883 active cases in Ontario, the third most ever throughout the pandemic.

Another 700-plus increase is part of worrisome trend for the province. Before Sept. 28, it had never hit that mark, but since then it has done so on nine different occasions; that includes seven times over the past eight days.

The latest patients were identified after the province completed 39,961 tests. The 1.9 per cent positivity rate is among the top five highest Ontario labs have recorded since June.

Of the most recent 783 patients, 239 were identified in Toronto, 136 in Peel, 127 in York and 89 in Ottawa. Of the 34 public health units, 14 of them reported no new patients.

There are 261 new cases among those 20-39 years old, the most of any age group. There are 247 infections among those 40-59, and 138 each for those who are at least 60 years old and those 19 and under. Twenty long-term residents have also been diagnosed in the latest 24-hour stretch, while one has died. In addition, five health-care workers have been recently infected.

Of the province’s 5,883 active cases, there are 253 people in hospital, the most since June 26. That includes 62 patients who are in ICU (down by two since Wednesday) and 31 who require a ventilator (down by four).

In K-12 schools around the province, there are 109 new cases. Fifty-five are among students, 17 are among staff, while the other 37 have not yet been identified by the Ministry of Health. Since schools opened in September, there have been 1,145 total cases. Currently, of the province’s 4,828 schools, 451 have a reported case. Five schools are closed at the moment due to COVID-19.

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 71 active outbreaks at residents across Ontario. In those facilities, there are 159 active cases among residents and 199 among staff.

Quebec’s stretch of under 1,000 daily cases continues, but its death toll grows by 28

Quebec health officials have announced 969 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, which marks the third straight occasion that it has stayed below 1,000 daily cases.

It’s a mark only Quebec has hit of all the jurisdictions in Canada throughout the pandemic. Since Oct. 1, it has eclipsed 1,000 cases on nine different occasions.

The majority of the latest 969 cases were found in Montreal (296), Montérégie (141), Quebec City (93), Chaudière-Appalaches (79) and Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec (77).

Eight more people have died in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch, but officials added 22 more victims from previous dates to its death toll, while two deaths were also retracted after investigations. The update sets Quebec’s death toll at 6,005, which is the highest in Canada.

In the latest 24-hour stretch, 984 more have recovered, leaving 8,491 active cases in the province. Of those currently infected patients, there are 493 in hospital, up by five since Wednesday, and the most in Quebec since June 24. That includes 83 people in intensive care, an increase of three.

Quebec's testing numbers are reflective of its outputs two days prior. In its most recent stretch, labs completed 23,397 tests.

In schools around the province, there are 304 new cases that were reported by the province since the last update, with 189 among students and 115 among staff. An additional 37 schools have reported their first infections, while there are 27 fewer class bubbles have been temporarily shut down for a total of 1,048.

Since schools reopened, Quebec has had 4,361 cases among students and staff across 1,172 schools. There are 2,127 cases that are considered active, as 197 more people have recovered in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

Updates from the rest of Canada

No new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Nova Scotia. Instead, one more patient has recovered, which leaves the province with three active cases. As of Prince Edward Island’s last update on Oct. 13, it also has three currently infected residents.

One person was diagnosed in Newfoundland and Labrador, which increases the active case count to nine. The latest patient is in their 40s and is a close contact of a previously identified case part of the same extended household. They are located in the Western Health region.

Even though New Brunswick is currently dealing with two active outbreaks that have caught the attention o all Atlantic Canada, health officials announced no new patients on Thursday. Instead, one more person has recovered, dropping its active case count to 89 — the second highest its been throughout the pandemic.

Thirty-three new cases were identified in Saskatchewan throughout the Central East (eight), Saskatoon (eight), Regina (seven), Far North West (three), Far North East (two), North Central (two), North East (two) and South Central (one) zones. Of the 33 cases, 25 are the result of contact to “known cases and/or gatherings,” according to a press release. Sixteen more people have recently recovered, which brings the province’s active case count to 271. The North Central, Saskatoon and Regina zones all have at least 50 currently infected individuals. Saskatchewan Health Authority is also notifying the public about dozens of potential COVID-19 exposures in six different cities.

Alberta health officials have identified 244 new cases of COVID-19 in their latest 24-hour stretch. A man in his 80s has also passed away. He is linked to the outbreak at Millwoods Shepherd’s Care Centre in Edmonton, which has led to infections among 60 residents (as well as eight deaths) and 31 staff, according to CBC. In the latest 24-hour stretch, 194 more people have recovered. It brings the active case count to 2,738. Of those currently infected patients, 1,497 of them are in the Edmonton zone, which is the province’s epicentre. There are currently 101 people in hospital and 16 in intensive care province-wide.

In British Columbia, 142 more patients have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In that same stretch, no one has died while 145 patients have recovered. It leaves 1,494 active cases throughout B.C., which includes 74 people in hospital and 24 who are in intensive care. In addition, the province announced its first confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

For a timeline of all cases before today, please visit this page.