The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
9 a.m. In a seniors housing building in east-end Toronto, 69-year-old Maureen Clohessy has taped over her power outlets, hoping to keep bedbugs out of the bachelor unit she’s called home for three years.
Each day, she watches for the scuttling critters, her eyes scanning from her plugs to her ceiling in an apartment on the seventh floor. The building at 828 Kingston Road is known as Glen Stewart Acres, and it’s one of several senior-specific buildings operated by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
Like other community housing buildings in Toronto, Glen Stewart Acres has battled pests from bedbugs to rodents and cockroaches. The housing operator saw a leap of 17.4 per cent in demands for pest treatments across all their buildings last year. Clohessy’s building was supposed to be treated top-to-bottom this spring. But then the pandemic hit — and the process was put indefinitely on hold.
8:32 a.m. The rate of COVID-19 testing in the part of the city hit hardest by the virus is lagging behind other neighbourhoods, data newly posted by Toronto Public Health shows.
That data, released Monday and current to Oct. 4, shows that eight of the 10 neighbourhoods with the highest per cent positivity for COVID-19 are in the northwest part of the city, which reporting by the Star has shown to be most at-risk.
At the same time, all eight of those neighbourhoods had rates of testing below the average for neighbourhoods where there was data available.
On Monday, the city’s board of health called on the province to increase the availability and accessibility of pop-up testing in neighbourhoods disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, said Monday that more testing is needed to “fully understand” what’s happening in those neighbourhoods. Testing is the responsibility of the province.
8:30 a.m. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says three more patients have tested positive for COVID-19.
That brings the total number of cases at its 1-4 Unit in downtown Toronto up to five after two were announced on Sunday.
CAMH is one of three hospitals in Toronto with active outbreaks,
Toronto Western Hospital said on Sunday five staff and three patients in two of its units have tested positive.
St. Joseph’s Health Centre was reporting outbreaks in four units on Sunday.
The province says an outbreak is declared when two or more people test positive for the virus within 14 days who could have reasonably caught COVID-19 at the hospital.
8:10 a.m. Health Canada is recalling a product labelled a hand sanitizer but that it has determined is counterfeit.
The government department says a counterfeit version of the authorized Daily Shield hand sanitizer has been found for sale at a Dollarama store in Thunder Bay.
Health Canada warns the false version may not be effective at killing bacteria and viruses, and may pose serious risks to health.
It also says that the unauthorized product is suspected to contain methanol, which is not authorized for use in hand sanitizers and could cause severe adverse reactions or death when ingested.
The counterfeit version is labelled with NPN 80098979, Lot 6942; Expiry May 2023 and is sold in a 250 mL format.
7:30 a.m. The number of passengers screened in a single day for flights in the U.S. topped one million for the first time since COVID-19 infections began to spike last March.
The notable milestone, reached Sunday, signifies both the progress made since the darkest days of pandemic for the devastated U.S. airline industry, when fewer than 100,000 people were screened per day in April, and how far it still has to go.
The million plus passengers screened Sunday compares with 2.6 million on the same day last year, or roughly 60% fewer, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
The TSA said that the 6.1 million passengers at U.S. checkpoints the week of Oct. 12 through Oct. 18 was the greatest volume measured since the start of the pandemic.
Vacation plans and business trips were frozen in the spring as millions took shelter. With so little known about the virus, few wanted to board planes or walk through an airport even if they could.
Airlines received $50 billion (U.S.) in cash and loans from Congress in March on the condition that they held off on layoffs at least through October. Airlines are now warning of mass layoffs while lobbying Congress and the White House for another $25 billion (U.S.) to pay workers for the next six months.
7:15 a.m. Colombian cyclist Fernando Gaviria has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia.
Gaviria and a staff member for Team AG2R La Mondiale were the only positives out of 492 tests carried out Sunday and Monday.
Gaviria’s UAE Team Emirates says the rider “was immediately isolated following the test result and is feeling well and is completely asymptomatic.”
The team notes that Gaviria also had COVID-19 in March.
Gaviria has won five stages at the Giro during his career.
Overall contenders Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk had already been withdrawn from the race after testing positive. Australian standout Michael Matthews also was withdrawn. The Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma teams withdrew their entire squads last week following a series of positive results from the first rest day.
7:10 a.m. Rugby Europe has suspended all internationals to the end of November, including the long-delayed last round of the men’s championship.
On Nov. 1 were scheduled Romania vs. Belgium and Georgia vs. Russia, and on Nov. 15 Spain vs. Portugal. They have been postponed since March.
Georgia has already retained the title, while Romania is in last place, which drops the occupier into a promotion-relegation match against the waiting Netherlands.
“Our players and our officials are mostly ‘amateurs,’” Rugby Europe president Octavian Morariu said on Tuesday. “We cannot expose them to the virus or to quarantine periods that would be problematic for them.”
5:53 a.m.: A number of fishing crew who flew into New Zealand on chartered planes have the coronavirus.
Health officials said Tuesday that 11 have tested positive so far and another 14 cases are being investigated.
The crew members have been in quarantine at a Christchurch hotel since they arrived, and tested positive during routine testing, officials said. The news could deal a blow to New Zealand’s efforts to restart its fishing industry, which has struggled to find local workers to crew vessels.
Jeremy Helson, the chief executive of Seafood New Zealand, said all the men tested negative before flying to New Zealand. “While we await to see how many cases there are, the fact that they were all detected in quarantine shows the system is working well,” Helson said in a statement.
The origin of the infected crew members wasn’t immediately clear, although a number of fishing crew have been arriving in New Zealand in recent days from Russia and Ukraine.
New Zealand has managed to stamp out community spread of the virus.
5:51 a.m.: Near the end of September, with coronavirus cases falling and more schools and businesses reopening, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration urged restraint, citing a statistical model that predicted a startling 89-per-cent increase in virus hospitalizations in the next month.
That hasn’t happened. Instead, state data shows hospitalizations have fallen by about 15 per cent since that warning while the weekly average number of new cases continues to decline even as other more populous states like Florida, Ohio and Illinois see increases.
California’s good news isn’t enough to change what Newsom calls his “slow” and “stubborn” approach to reopening the world’s fifth-largest economy. He again cautioned people against “being overly exuberant” about those coronavirus numbers, pointing to a “decline in the rate of decline” of hospitalizations.
5:50 a.m.: A Cabinet minister says Pakistan has witnessed a 140 per-cent increase in fatalities from COVID-19 in recent weeks due to widespread violations of social distancing rules.
Asad Umar, the planning and development minister who oversees Pakistan’s response to coronavirus, warned on Twitter “We will lose both lives and livelihoods” if people did not adhere to social distancing rules.
His comments Tuesday came shortly after the military-backed Command and Operations Center reported 14 deaths and 625 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had warned on Monday that Pakistan’s big cities could face a second wave of COVID-19 in the coming weeks because of increasing pollution in winter. Pakistan has reported 324,084 cases, including 6,673 COVID-19 deaths.
5:49 a.m.: As Argentina passed 1 million virus cases Monday, it is now smaller cities like Ushuaia that are seeing some of the most notable upticks. Doctors have had to quadruple the number of beds for COVID-19 patients over the last month. At least 60 per cent of those tested recently are coming back positive for the virus.
“We were the example of the country,” said Dr. Carlos Guglielmi, director of the Ushuaia Regional Hospital. “Evidently someone arrived with the coronavirus.”
Across Latin America, three other nations are expected to reach the 1 million case milestone in the coming weeks — Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The grim mark comes as Latin America continues to register some of the world’s highest daily case counts. And though some nations have seen important declines, overall there has been little relief, with cases dropping in one municipality only to escalate in another.
The trajectory is showing that the pandemic is likely to leave no corner of Latin America unscathed.
5:44 a.m.: Canadians continue to experience mental health difficulties due to the pandemic, with one in four saying their stress level is higher than during the first COVID-19 wave, according to a new poll.
The online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that only 19 per cent of Canadians say their mental health is better now than in March and April as infection rates tick up and autumn sets in.
However, about 54 per cent said their mental state is about the same as when the coronavirus first struck the country.
Participants cited concerns about the length and severity of the pandemic as their biggest source of anxiety, followed closely by social isolation and family health.
“If we cannot see extended family during the holidays and rekindle that positive energy that we get from family and friends, it might lead to a long winter,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.
“It’s almost like, when is this thing going to end?”
4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. EDT on Oct. 20, 2020:
There are 200,939 confirmed cases in Canada.
-Quebec: 94,429 confirmed (including 6,044 deaths, 79,529 resolved)
-Ontario: 65,075 confirmed (including 3,050 deaths, 55,978 resolved)
-Alberta: 22,673 confirmed (including 292 deaths, 19,243 resolved)
-British Columbia: 11,687 confirmed (including 253 deaths, 9,753 resolved)
-Manitoba: 3,382 confirmed (including 42 deaths, 1,597 resolved)
-Saskatchewan: 2,396 confirmed (including 25 deaths, 1,973 resolved)
-Nova Scotia: 1,097 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,026 resolved)
-New Brunswick: 313 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 207 resolved)
-Newfoundland and Labrador: 287 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 272 resolved)
-Prince Edward Island: 63 confirmed (including 60 resolved)
-Yukon: 17 confirmed (including 15 resolved)
-Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
-Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved), 3 presumptive
-Nunavut: No confirmed cases
Total: 201,440 (3 presumptive, 201,437 confirmed including 9,778 deaths, 169,671 resolved)
Monday 6:35 p.m.: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at its Queen Street West site, with five patients testing positive for the virus. It is the first outbreak at Canada’s largest mental health hospital since April.
Two patients were said to have COVID-19 on Sunday. By Monday at 5 p.m., CAMH updated their website to reveal three more patients had tested positive, bringing the total to five current patients with the virus.
The new outbreak brings the number of patients who have tested positive for the virus at CAMH to 29 since the pandemic began. Nineteen have since recovered and three were discharged.