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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