Brampton’s coronavirus positivity rate more than double national average; B.C. cases soar over the weekend

For more on 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.

‘Concerning’ number of cases over the weekend in B.C.

Dr. Réka Gustafson, British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, said the province is dealing with a “concerning” number of COVID-19 cases, after 1,120 new cases were reported over a three-day period.

She said the most common places of transmission are private “uncontrolled” gatherings in a private residence, with too many many and no safety protocols in place.

Health minister Adrian Dix recognized that it can be incredibly frustrating for British Columbians who are following the public health rules to see individuals who aren’t doing the same, specifically after reports of large crowds of people on Halloween.

“We’re facing COVID-19 for a long time to come, for months and months and months and months and month and months and months to come,” Dix said. “We need to follow public health guidance and public health advice.”

The health minister said it’s even more important to follow the rules in the winter months, compared to summer, and suggested that upcoming holiday gatherings will have to be virtual this year.

Dr. Gustafson also spoke about the federal COVID Alert app and why B.C. hasn’t adopted it yet. She said it was carefully reviewed with contact tracers in the province and the information that the app provides wouldn’t have any “additional benefit.”

“It isn’t able to notify and tell them…how intense that contact was,…when it occurred and what they need to do about it,” she said. “In order to act in a meaningful way…you need to have some details about it.”

‘You knew the allocations that you had so don’t overbook people’

The Ontario government announced it is increasing the hours of direct care for long-term care residents to an average of four hours per day.

“I made a promise to long-term care residents, their families and their caregivers that we would deliver better care for our seniors,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “Today, we are delivering on that promise and acting on the early recommendations of Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission.”

“By increasing the hours of daily direct care for residents, we will improve their quality of life and ensure they are more comfortable and safe.”

At a press conference on Monday, Ford called out Rexall pharmacies for overbooking influenza vaccine appointments after it was announced the chain is pausing the flu shot program due to supply issues.

“You knew the allocations that you had so don’t overbook people,” the premier said. “If you know you have X amount of flu shots, book X amount of flu shots.”

The premier also defended the decision to move Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa into modified Stage 2 restrictions.

Ford said he would rather err on the side of caution than let everything go “hog wild” and open up.

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Virginia Coronavirus Case Average Reaches New High In Last Week

VIRGINIA — The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases has reached a new peak in Virginia as cases have been over 1,000 for six straight days.

Because the Virginia Department of Health coronavirus dashboard was down for maintenance for much of Saturday, we’re providing an update on the weekend. The month of October ended with 1,551 new cases on Saturday, and 1,202 were reported on Sunday. Cumulative cases total 182,392.

The seven-day case average is 1,289 and has been increasing in the last week. The highest new case count in October had been 1,844 on Oct. 8, but that was attributed to a backlog of cases from the previous day.

By region, the new cases on Sunday included 373 in the southwest region, 300 in the northern region, 186 in the central region, 180 in the northwest region and 163 in the eastern region. The southwest region also reported 582 new cases on Saturday, marking the highest daily cases to date for the region.

The statewide positive average is up to 5.7 percent with 2,647,659 PCR tests completed to date. Seven-day averages by region are 9.4 percent in the southwest region, 5.6 percent in the northern region, 5.4 percent in the central region, 4.3 percent in the eastern region, and 3.5 percent in the northwest region.

There was just one new death reported on Sunday and 11 on Saturday. Total deaths to date are up to 3,655. When looking at deaths by the date on death certificates, the highest seven-day average remains 40.1 deaths on May 5. Data may be incomplete for the last few weeks, but the average has been half of the May 5 peak or less in recent months.

Cumulative hospitalizations stand at 12,647, while the current patient count is 1,012. By region, that includes 284 in the southwest region, 242 in the northern region, 196 in the central region, 162 in the eastern region, and 128 in the northwest region.

The 1,012 statewide hospitalizations include 98 patients on ventilators and 228 in the intensive care units, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Ventilator use among all hospital patients stands at 28 percent, and ICU occupancy is at 61 percent occupancy. No hospitals are reporting difficulty obtaining personal protective equipment or other medical supplies in the next 72 hours.

Outbreaks, defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases in a setting, account for 28,019 cases to date. There have been 12,608 cases and 1,782 deaths in long-term care facilities. K-12 settings account for 212 cases and no deaths, while colleges and universities have 2,466 outbreak-associated cases and no deaths.

Below are the latest coronavirus data updates for our coverage area from Friday to Sunday:

  • Alexandria: 4,349 cases, 325 hospitalizations, 74 deaths; increase of 46 cases and one hospitalization

  • Arlington County: 4,764 cases, 541 hospitalizations, 154 deaths; increase of 78 cases

  • Fairfax County: 24,233 cases, 2,287 hospitalizations, 605 deaths; increase of 289 cases and nine hospitalizations

  • Fairfax City: 164 cases, 14 hospitalizations, eight deaths;

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Seven-Day Average of New Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Reaches All-Time High

The average number of new coronavirus cases reported daily over the past week reached an all-time high of 68,767 on Monday, another indication that the U.S. is experiencing a fresh surge of infections as the weather turns cooler.

The figures, based on a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data, have increased steadily this month and include back-to-back days of more than 80,000 cases over this past week.

Since a surge of infections over the summer, the seven-day average of new cases dipped to as low as 34,354 a day in mid-September and hovered between 40,000 to 45,000 a day later that month and into October.

Health officials often point to the seven-day average of new cases as a smoother analysis of coronavirus trends in communities and around the country.

Many epidemiologists and public health officials anticipated a surge in new coronavirus infections this fall as cooler temperatures pushed Americans indoors and behaviors changed with the seasons. But this increase in new cases is coming sooner than some expected.

Since Oct. 5, the seven-day average of newly reported cases nationally has exceeded the 14-day average, demonstrating a rise in reported cases in recent weeks. This was the case Monday in 44 states and Washington, D.C., according to the Journal’s analysis of Johns Hopkins data, as surges in reported infections have been reported across every region of the country.

The number of tests reported each day has increased, but so has the percent of those returning positive. On Monday, the seven-day average percentage of positive tests sat at 6.25%, more than the average 4.5% seen at the beginning of the month.

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff and top campaign adviser, as well as at least three others close to Mr. Pence, tested positive for Covid-19, the Journal reported over the weekend. Mr. Pence plans to continue with campaign events ahead of Election Day after consulting with White House medical staff. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise individuals potentially exposed to a person infected with Covid-19 to quarantine.

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U.S. 7-Day Average of Coronavirus Cases Reaches All-Time High | Health News

The U.S. is averaging more daily coronavirus cases than at any previous point in the pandemic.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows the nation’s seven-day average for infections is near 69,000 daily cases. The former highest peak came in July at an average of over 67,000 cases per day.

The development comes as the U.S. has entered the third peak of its outbreak. The weekend saw massive numbers of new cases, with more than 83,000 infections added on both Friday and Saturday.

Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted

TOPSHOT - A passenger in an outfit (R) poses for a picture as a security guard wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands nearby on a last century-style boat, featuring a theatrical drama set between the 1920s and 1930s in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. reports the most infections and fatalities out of any country, with more than 8.6 million infections and over 225,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker. Every region is seeing an increase in cases, with the South and the Midwest reporting the majority of new infections, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.

Experts are concerned that as the country heads deeper into fall and winter, cold weather will push more people indoors, possibly increasing the spread of the virus. The challenge could also be compounded by the flu season.

“We are likely to see a very dense epidemic,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday. “I think we are right now at the cusp of what is going to be exponential spread in parts of the country.”

Gottlieb said the U.S. is at a “tipping point” but added that “if we took some aggressive, targeted steps right now we could potentially forestall the worst of it.”

But the Trump administration has a very different message as to the state of the country’s outbreak, with President Donald Trump repeatedly claiming that it is “rounding the corner.”

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said the federal government would focus on developing vaccines and therapeutics rather than controlling the outbreak.

“We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas,” Meadows told CNN.

Meanwhile, the virus has infiltrated Vice President Mike Pence’s inner circle, infecting his chief of staff and other top aides, but Pence has decided not to quarantine and is instead continuing on his regular scheduling with Election Day nearing.

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US sets new record for average daily coronavirus cases

The United States set a record Sunday for new coronavirus cases averaged over a seven-day period, as cases march steadily upward.

The average new cases per day over a seven-day period was 68,954 on Sunday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, beating the previous record of 66,844 set on July 23.

The country has now passed the July peak, and there is no end in sight as the weather gets colder and more activity moves indoors, where the virus spreads more easily.

The country also set a one-day record Friday with more than 83,000 cases.

The new spike in positive cases, the largest since the pandemic began, comes as President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden’s ’60 Minutes’ interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought ‘9/11 attack was 7/11 attack’ MORE continues to downplay the virus as Election Day nears.

The president blamed the rise in cases on an increase in testing in a tweet Monday. “Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST,” Trump wrote. “A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th., topic will totally change. VOTE!”

However, hospitalizations are also rising, a sign that the rise in cases is not just because of more testing. There are more than 41,000 people hospitalized with coronavirus, up from around 30,000 at the end of September.

The percentage of tests coming back positive is also rising, another sign of the rising spread of the virus. It is now at about 6 percent nationally and climbing, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsPence’s ‘body man’ among aides who tested positive for coronavirus: report Murphy says US would be ‘better off’ if Trump admin ‘did nothing’ on coronavirus Biden: Meadows coronavirus remark a ‘candid acknowledgement’ of Trump strategy ‘to wave the white flag’ MORE, the White House chief of staff, said Sunday that the administration did not even have the goal of getting the pandemic under control.

“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” he said on CNN. “We are gonna control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.”

There is no vaccine yet available, though progress is being made at a rapid pace, and while there are therapeutics that help to some degree, they are far from a cure for the disease.

Hospitals are in danger of becoming overwhelmed in some areas such as Utah and Wisconsin.

“We have one more cycle to get through with this,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Monday on CNBC. “I know people are exhausted. It’s been very hard on families, and on individuals, on businesses especially, but we really have two or three months of the acute phase of this pandemic to get through.”

Like many other experts, Gottlieb called for states to impose mask mandates, and said while large-scale lockdowns

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US coronavirus cases hit highest 7-day average since the pandemic began

Health experts say the resurgence of cases they have warned would strike in the fall and winter months is here and that it could be worse than the US has seen so far. Surging numbers in the US — where there have been a total of more than 8.6 million infections and 225,230 people have died — show the nation is at a “dangerous tipping point,” former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS News on Sunday.

The seven-day average of new cases has been creeping closer to the previous peak of the pandemic of 67,200 cases on July 22. The past week saw a new record with an average of 68,767 new cases every day.

“We’re entering what’s going to be the steep slope of the curve, of the epidemic curve,” Gottlieb told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.”

Though cases are surging across the country, Gottlieb said things are going to start looking worse over the next two or three weeks. He said he doesn’t foresee the implementation of forceful policy intervention that could curb the spread.

“If we don’t do that, if we miss this window, this is going to continue to accelerate and it’s going to be more difficult to get under control,” he said.

A national mask mandate could be a necessary inconvenience

A national mask mandate could be a way of getting the virus under control, Gottlieb wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. The article’s headline is “Winter Is Coming: Time for a Mask Mandate.”

“A mandate can be expressly limited to the next two months,” Gottlieb wrote, adding that it’s easier to wear a mask in the winter than the summer. “The inconvenience would allow the country to preserve health-care capacity and keep more schools and businesses open.”

With deaths expected to rise this winter, policymakers will have to make moves to slow the spread, Gottlieb wrote. There already is no support for reinstating the stay-at-home orders from the spring.

US should consider national mask mandate for the winter, former USDA commissioner writes in op-ed

If 95% of Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved in the United States through February, according to data released Friday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

“If people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Friday.

Gottlieb wrote the concern about needing fines to enforce the mandate leading to confrontations with police isn’t necessarily true.

“States should be able to choose how to enforce a mandate, but the goal should be to make masks a social and cultural norm, not a political statement,” he wrote. “Mandating masks has become divisive only because it was framed that way by some politicians and commentators.”

State leaders back on guard

No state is currently reporting above a 10% improvement in coronavirus cases in the last week compared to the week before. And as the

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