Canada's COVID-19 cases: Quebec sees 171 new school infections; Ford says Ontario is in 'second wave' after record-high spike

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

On Monday, Sept. 28, Canadian jurisdictions reported 2,176 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 10 related fatalities and 1,509 recently recovered patients.

The update — which included British Columbia and Alberta reporting their numbers for a three-day stretch — brings Canada’s active case count to 13,416, an increase of 657 since Sunday.

Ontario started the day by reporting 700 new cases of COVID-19, the most in a 24-hour stretch since the start of the pandemic. The update led to Ontario Premier Doug Ford announcing to the province that it is officially in the “second wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario also reported 36 new cases in schools, while Quebec announced 171 new infections among students and staff. Seventy-nine new schools have also reported their first cases since the two provinces provided an update on Friday.

In total, Quebec announced 750 new cases, as it continues to lead all provinces in currently infected patients with 5,196. On Monday, Premier François Legault announced new restrictions for the greater Montreal region, Chaudiere-Appalaches and the majority of the Quebec City region. They will move to red alert (the highest) on the province’s colour-coded scale, which identifies the risk COVID-19 poses in a certain region.

In Yorkton, Sask., health officials believe upon an initial investigation that cases at its high school, hospital and RCMP detachment are linked to a local fitness facility, according to The Canadian Press and The Saskatoon StarPhoenix. The high school and RCMP detachment have since temporarily closed, while an outbreak has been declared at the school, hospital and gym.

Nunavut also made headlines after officials reported seven presumptive cases of COVID-19. If further tests verify the results, it would mean that the jurisdiction has recorded its first confirmed positive case throughout the pandemic.

For more on Monday’s top stories, and on how the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, please refer to our live updates below, and our live-blog on the latest updates across Canada.

13,416 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 155,301 diagnoses, 9,278 deaths and 132,607 recoveries (as of Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Alberta - 1,549 active cases (17,749 total cases, including 265 deaths, 15,935 resolved)

  • British Columbia - 1,302 active cases (8,908 total cases, 233 deaths, 7,346 resolved)

  • Manitoba - 618 active cases (1,919 total cases, 20 deaths, 1,281 resolved)

  • New Brunswick - 7 active cases (200 cases, 2 deaths, 191 resolved)

  • Newfoundland and Labrador - 2 active case (273 total cases, 3 deaths, 268 resolved)

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

  • Nova Scotia - 1 active cases (1,087 total cases, 65 deaths 1,021 resolved)

  • Ontario - 4,564 active cases (50,531 total cases, 2,840 deaths, 43,127 resolved)

  • Prince Edward Island - 1 active case (58 total cases, 57 resolved)

  • Quebec - 5,196 active cases (72,651 total cases, 5,826 deaths, 61,629 resolved*)

  • Saskatchewan - 149 active cases (1,892 total cases, 24 deaths, 1,719 resolved)

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

  • Nunavut - 0 active cases (7 presumptive positive cases)

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

Quebec reports 171 new infections among students, staff as it imposes new restrictions for three regions

Premier François Legault announced that three Quebec regions will move to red alert (the highest), shortly after the province recorded 750 new cases.

The spike on Monday is the second largest it has had since its May 16 update. A day earlier on Sunday, the province announced 896 new cases.

“The numbers can’t be argued ... The situation is critical,” said Legault in French, as he announced new restrictions that will come into effect Thursday for the greater Montreal region, Chaudiere-Appalaches and the majority of the Quebec City region.

“We’re doing this because we need to protect others. We need to protect kids who continue to go to school, those working in hospitals, the elderly.”

The most recent update makes it the 10th straight day that the province has recorded at least 400 cases. Before the recent stretch, it had not hit that mark since May 31. Since then, it has also enjoyed multiple stretches where it consistently reported fewer than 100 daily cases as it contained the spread of COVID-19.

In schools across the province, there are 171 new cases of COVID-19 as of the last update. One-hundred thirty-five were among students and the other 36 among staff. Forty-two more cases have recovered, leaving 736 currently infected patients among students, and 115 among staff, for a total of 851.

So far, at least 475 class bubbles have been sent home and asked to learn remotely, up by 48 since the last report. Of the province’s 3,089 schools, 543 of them have had a case of COVID-19, up by 54. However, 100 of them don’t currently have an active case, since the individual has recovered.

No one has died in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch, but one more fatality that occurred on an unknown date has been added to its death toll of 5,826. The province noted on Monday that 500 more patients have recovered, so there are now 5,196 infected patients in Quebec, the most in Canada.

Two weeks ago on Sept. 14, the province had 2,054 active cases, and a month ago (Aug. 31) there were 1,379 active patients.

Of the recently identified 896 cases in Quebec, 245 are in Montreal, 125 in Quebec City, 81 in Montérégie, 73 in Laval, 41 in Chaudière-Appalaches, 40 in Lanaudière, 37 in Laurentides, 28 in Estrie, 27 in Outaouais and 23 in Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec. Four of its 18 health regions reported no new cases.

Starting Thursday, till Oct. 28, those in the greater Montreal region, Chaudière-Appalaches and the Quebec City region (with the exception of Portneuf and Charlevoix) will not be allowed to visit other people’s homes. Exceptions can be made for a single caregiver, guardian and those providing a service, such as a plumber.

Bars, casinos, movie theaters, performance halls and restaurants will have to close, except for takeout. Masks are now mandatory during protests, while people must maintain a two-metre distance at outdoor gatherings.

No changes have been made regarding schools, while places of worship can only welcome up to 25 people at a time. Businesses and stores can remain open, while personal and beauty care services will also continue.

“We’re giving ourselves four weeks with these measures to see if we can stop the second wave,” said Legault. “I hope we do, but I cannot and will not make false promises.”

Quebec’s testing numbers are reflective of its output from two days prior. Most recently, it completed 24,778 tests for COVID-19, as it continues to push its capacity. In a press release, health officials notified the public that test centres may turn away low-risk people. Those with symptoms and those who’ve been in contact with a patient will be prioritized.

Of the province’s currently infected individuals, there are 212 in hospital and 37 in intensive care, down by four in each category compared to Sunday.

On Monday, a spokesperson for regional health authority CIUSSS Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal said to Yahoo News Canada that the residents of CHSLD Résidence Herron who were in contact with an infected employee have tested negative. The other employees are still awaiting their test results.

The health authority also confirmed that there are currently no cases among residents, despite contradictory info being presented by the Quebec government. For more on the problems that have plagued the long-term care home throughout the pandemic, please refer to our update from yesterday.

Ford: Ontario is in ‘second wave’ as it reports a record-high 700 new cases

Ontario reported 700 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the most ever in a 24-hour stretch since the start of the pandemic.

The previous record-high was set April 24, when the province was at the peak of its first wave.

It’s now the ninth time over the past 11 days that it has surpassed the 400 daily cases mark. Before the recent stretch, Ontario had not recorded more than 400 cases in a 24-hour stretch since June 2.

“Today’s numbers are deeply concerning,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “Our health officials are telling us that Ontario is in the second wave of COVID-19. We know that this wave will be more complicated, complex. It’ll be worse than the first wave we faced earlier this week, and we’ve all had a critical role to play.

“What we don’t know yet is how bad the second wave will be. The reality is it’s up to each of us. Together, our collective actions will decide if we face a wave or a tsunami.”

The most recent group of 700 cases were identified after the province completed 41,509 tests. The 1.7 per cent positivity rate is the highest the province has recorded since early June.

Ontario also announced that one more person, a long-term care resident, has died and 331 have recovered. There are now 4,564 active cases in the province, the most since May 1.

Ontario has seen its active case count accelerate in a worrisome direction. Two weeks ago on Sept. 14, there were 2,027 currently infected patients throughout the province, while a month ago on Aug. 31, there were 1,221.

“This is extremely, extremely serious,” Ford said. “Everything is on the table.”

Toronto leads the way with 1,661 active cases, followed by Peel (927), Ottawa (656) and York (404). The remaining 30 public health units have fewer than 150.

Over the past month, health officials and Ford have credited an increase in private gatherings and outbreak clusters at bars, restaurants and strip clubs for the rise in cases.

Of the recent 700 cases, 344 were identified in Toronto, 104 in Peel, 89 in Ottawa, 56 in York, 20 in Niagara, 15 in Halton and 13 in Hamilton. The remaining 27 public health units reported 10 or fewer cases, while 12 of them reported no new patients at all.

In K-12 schools in Ontario, there are 36 new cases. Twenty-seven are among students, and three among staff, while the other six have not yet been identified by the Ministry of Health.

Throughout the province’s 4,828 schools, there have been 272 cases among 223 institutions, up by 25 since Friday’s update.

There are 317 new infections among those 20-39 years old, the most of any age group. There are also 183 new cases among those 40-59, and 101 among those 19 and under. Eight new cases were identified among long-term care residents, and five among health-care workers.

Of the province’s 4,564 active cases, 128 are in hospital, but the Ministry of Health noted that about 40 hospitals did not report their data over the weekend. The 128 patients is still the most Ontario has had since July 24. That includes 29 in ICU, and 17 who require a ventilator.

Cases at Saskatchewan high school, RCMP detachment, hospital potentially linked to gym

In Yorkton, Sask. an RCMP detachment has temporarily closed due to COVID-19, while outbreaks have been declared at its high school, hospital and at a local fitness facility.

According to The Canadian Press and The Saskatoon StarPhoenix, who received confirmation from health officials, it is believed that the cases are tied to the local fitness facility, upon an initial investigation.

Last week, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) sent out a potential exposure warning relating to Pumphouse Athletic Club, after an individual was at the gym while infectious between Sept 18-19.

Since then, four students at Yorkton Regional High School have tested positive, which has resulted in all classes being moved online for the next few weeks.

According to The Canadian Press, Good Spirit School Division said in a letter to parents that it believes the infections came from the community and aren’t the result of transmission within the school setting.

Saskatchewan Health Authority has warned the public of a potential exposure warning relating to Pumphouse Athletic Club, after an individual was at the gym while infectious between Sept 18-19. (Credit: Getty Creative)
Saskatchewan Health Authority has warned the public of a potential exposure warning relating to Pumphouse Athletic Club, after an individual was at the gym while infectious between Sept 18-19. (Credit: Getty Creative)

One front-line Mountie has also been diagnosed, prompting 14 other officers and six civilian employees to isolate. The detachment is closed to the public for two weeks for non-emergency issues.

On Monday, it was announced that three hospital staff at Yorkton Regional Health Centre have also tested positive. According to a press release by SHA, “initial findings indicate contacts share a common source of exposure at a local fitness facility.”

All health-care workers who have been identified as close contacts are being tested, while services are still being offered at the hospital.

Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said there are at least 100 known close contacts, and that he expects to see a rise in cases in Yorkton over the next week or so, according to The Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

On Monday, Saskatchewan health officials announced 14 new cases of COVID-19 throughout the Central East (seven), Regina (three), Saskatoon (three) and Far North West (one) zones. Nine more people have recovered, leaving 149 active cases in the province. Of those currently infected individuals, 84 are in its epicentre of Saskatoon.

Nunavut reports seven presumptive cases that may lead to its first confirmed patient

The Hope Bay gold mine on June 8, 2017. The Nunavut government is reporting seven presumptive positive cases at the mine, which is 125 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. (Credit: CBC/Submitted by Alex Buchan/TMAC)
The Hope Bay gold mine on June 8, 2017. The Nunavut government is reporting seven presumptive positive cases at the mine, which is 125 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. (Credit: CBC/Submitted by Alex Buchan/TMAC)

Nunavut may have its first confirmed COVID-19 patient, after health officials identified seven new presumptive positive cases.

The cases involve employees at the TMAC Resources’ Hope Bay Mine, which is 125 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay.

Two previous cases were confirmed at Hope Bay Mine earlier this month, but it was determined that the individuals contracted the virus outside of Nunavut. Therefore, they didn’t count toward the jurisdiction’s total confirmed case count, which remains at zero.

At the moment, there is no established link between the two first cases, and the seven presumptive cases. However, if the test swabs are confirmed at another lab, they will count as Nunavut’s first COVID-19 cases.

“These latest cases lead us to believe there is transmission of COVID-19 at the Hope Bay Mine,” said Nunavut’s chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson in a press release.

Currently, there are no residents working at the mine, therefore “the risk to Nunavummiut is very low.” The mine is also isolated from all its communities.

Throughout the other two territories, Yukon and Northwest Territories, there are currently no active cases of COVID-19.

Updates from the rest of Canada

New Brunswick remains at seven active cases, Newfoundland and Labrador at two, and Nova Scotia at one, after health officials were not able to identify any new patients in the latest 24-hour stretch. As of Prince Edward Island’s last update on Sept. 23, it also has one currently infected resident.

Manitoba announced that a man in his 70s in the Prairie Mountain health region has died in hospital, increasing the province’s death toll to 20. Thirty-nine new cases were also identified in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch, throughout the Winnipeg (22), Interlake-Eastern (seven), Northern (seven) and Southern (three) health regions. The seven cases in the Northern health region are in an Indigenous community and are all close contacts, said chief provincial public health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin.

Throughout the province, there are now 618 active cases, which marks the third-straight day that Manitoba has set a new record-high. Of those currently infected individuals, 512 are in Winnipeg. On Monday, tighter restrictions came into effect in the Winnipeg metropolitan region due to the rapid rise in cases. The province’s worst school outbreak at John Pritchard School in Winnipeg has grown to 33, which includes six epi-linked cases. A second confirmed case has also been identified at St. Maurice School in Winnipeg, but an investigation has shown that it is not linked to the first. In addition, public health officials are warning the public of two other exposure events in Winnipeg between Sept. 18-20.

In Alberta, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the province’s labs have identified 60 new cases between Friday to Saturday, 184 between Saturday to Sunday and 162 leading into Monday. In the same stretch, four more people have died and 310 have recovered. There are currently 1,549 active cases throughout the province, with the Edmonton (779) and Calgary (575) zones being home to the majority of them. With the latest update, the province has also processed more than one million tests throughout the pandemic.

Hinshaw said there are 113 active alerts for schools, in which there has been a case of COVID-19 at the institution. In those instances, all students and teachers part of the classroom where there was a patient must isolate for two weeks. Hinshaw said that so far, 20 schools that previously had an alert have reported no transmission, and everyone is now back in class. There are currently 210 active cases, which includes 47 schools that have outbreaks, meaning there are at least two cases that have been in the school within a 14-day period.

In British Columbia, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province identified 68 new cases between Friday to Saturday, 125 between Saturday to Sunday, and 74 leading into Monday. In the same stretch, three more residents have died, increasing the death toll to 233. Three-hundred and ten more people have recovered, which leaves the province with 1,302 active cases of COVID-19. Currently, that includes 69 people in hospital, and 22 in intensive care.

There have been three new health-care facility outbreaks in B.C.: a second outbreak at Holy Family Hospital, a second outbreak at Harrison West at Elim Village and at Thornebridge Gardens. On the other hand, the outbreak at Burnaby Hospital has been declared over. In Kelowna, a new community outbreak has been declared at Calvary Chapel Church. Henry said that so far, there haven’t been any transmission events or outbreaks in schools across the province.

Timelines of cases prior to today: