Updated throughout the day on Monday, March 28. Questions/comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Conspiracy to commit murder: Alberta border blockade cases delayed
- U.K. study to test Pfizer’s COVID pill in hospitalized patients
- 2nd vaccine booster significantly lowers COVID death rate: Israeli study
- New book focuses on high death toll in CHSLDs during Quebec’s first wave
- Passengers face more fines over Montreal-Cancun party flight
- Quebec reports one death as hospitalizations rise again
- Quebec set to offer 4th doses to CHSLD residents, people 80+
- More Quebec politicians test positive
- Boileau concerned as cases surge among Quebec health workers
- Videos: Highlights of yesterday’s Quebec pandemic update
- Medicago’s tobacco ties jeopardize growth of its COVID shot
- Ontario MPP turns himself over to police, charged for convoy protest activities
- Shanghai locks down as virus surges in China’s financial hub
- Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, vaccine passports, testing, restrictions
- Sign up for our free nightly coronavirus newsletter
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I’ll be back tomorrow with another live blog.
In the meantime, you can follow all our coverage via the coronavirus page.
My previous COVID-19 live blogs are available here.
Nasal spray found effective at treating infected mice
A nasal spray developed by a team of researchers, including some from Canada, has been found effective at treating and preventing COVID-19 in mice, offering hope for future therapeutic treatments for humans.
As cases rise, Quebec urges people to be cautious
Conspiracy to commit murder: Alberta border blockade cases delayed
From The Canadian Press:
Four men charged with conspiracy to commit murder after being arrested at a border blockade in southern Alberta are to return to court next month when their lawyers have received more information.
Christopher Lysak, who is 48, is also charged with uttering threats, possession of a weapon, and mischief to property over $5,000.
Lysak — along with Chris Carbert, Anthony Olienick and Jerry Morin — are to return to Lethbridge provincial court on April 11.
Crown prosecutor Aaron Rankin says he expected RCMP to provide additional evidence about the case by the end of this week.
Carbert and Olienick have indicated they are both getting new lawyers before the next appearance.
A protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions went on for almost three weeks on the U.S. border near Coutts, Alta., last month.
Arrests were made after RCMP found a cache of long guns, handguns, body armour, large amounts of ammunition and high-capacity magazines in three trailers.
U.K. study to test Pfizer’s COVID pill in hospitalized patients
A British trial will investigate U.S. drugmaker Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 pill – Paxlovid – as a potential treatment for patients hospitalized with the illness, scientists said on Monday, as global coronavirus cases are surging once again.
2nd vaccine booster significantly lowers COVID death rate: Israeli study
New book focuses on high death toll in CHSLDs during Quebec’s first wave
Passengers face more fines over Montreal-Cancun party flight
More fines have been issued in connection with a rowdy Montreal flight to Cancun that sparked international headlines and outrage after videos emerged of passengers partying and appearing to flout public health rules.
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced via Twitter today that “passengers on the December 30 Montreal-Cancun flight continue to face the consequences of their actions.”
He said 12 new fines have been issued – seven for non-compliance with vaccination rules and five for not wearing a mask.
That brings the total to 24, “with more to come,” Alghabra said.
Videos from the Sunwing Airlines flight showed passengers not wearing face masks, ignoring social distancing rules and dancing in the aircraft’s aisles and passenger seats. Other images showed some passengers vaping, drinking vodka from a full-sized bottle and taking selfies.
The flight carried 154 passengers, some of whom were Quebec social media influencers and reality-show personalities.
After images of the flight went viral, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the passengers’ conduct irresponsible and a “slap in the face” to everyone who had followed public health restrictions. He referred to the passengers as “idiots” and “barbarians.”
In January, James William Awad, the organizer of the flight, said he was considering suing Sunwing Airlines for “breach of contract” after it refused to fly his group home.
Chart: Current situation vs. one year ago
Charts: Quebec cases, deaths
Charts: Quebec’s vaccination campaign
Quebec reports one death as hospitalizations rise again
Quebec has recorded 1,614 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced this morning.
The case tally only includes people who received PCR tests at government screening clinics. It does not accurately reflect the number of cases since it does not include the results of home rapid tests.
Hospitalizations went up again and are at their highest level in more than two weeks.
In addition, one new death was reported, bringing the cumulative total to 14,325.
Some other key statistics from Quebec’s latest COVID-19 update:
- Net increase in hospitalizations: 27, for total of 1,115 (92 entered hospital, 65 discharged).
- Net decrease in intensive care patients: 3, for total of 53 (8 entered ICUs, 11 discharged).
- 11,964 PCR tests conducted Saturday.
- 4,886 vaccine doses administered over previous 24 hours.
Updated information was not available for Montreal Island.
Starting tomorrow, Quebec will offer 4th doses to CHSLD residents and people 80+
Quebec is preparing to expand access to fourth doses (also referred to as second boosters) to certain segments of the population.
Those eligible as of Tuesday, March 29 include residents of CHSLDs and private seniors’ residences and Quebecers who are 80 and older.
Residents in congregate living settings will be visited by mobile vaccinators. Others will be able to book via the Clic Santé website.
Clic Santé indicates that fourth doses are already available for people who:
- Are at least 12 years old and are immunocompromised or on dialysis.
- Received two doses of AstraZeneca or Covishield vaccine and one dose of an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer).
More Quebec politicians test positive
Premier François Legault isn’t the only Quebec politician who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating.
Over the weekend, more elected officials announced they had COVID:
In addition, Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault is working from home after her four-year-old daughter tested positive.
She said on Twitter that she had to isolate herself.
After a La Presse reporter noted that public health rules do not require a person to isolate if someone in their household tests positive, Guilbault took to Twitter.
“With all due respect, my daughter is four years old and has to self-isolate at home,” she tweeted. “Who will look after her if her parent does not isolate with her?”
Boileau concerned as cases surge among Quebec health workers
It’s too early to say Quebec is in a sixth wave, but COVID-19 cases are surging, especially among health-care workers, interim health director Luc Boileau said Sunday.
At a news conference in Montreal, he reported the number of health-care workers off sick with the virus has jumped by 60 per cent in less than a week to 8,600, “a number that worries us.”
Videos: Highlights of yesterday’s Quebec pandemic update
More than 8,000 health workers out sick as COVID-19 surges in Quebec
Why are hospitalizations mainly rising in Quebec’s regions?
‘We’re not officially in a sixth wave,’ Dr. Boileau says, but we seem to be headed in that direction
Boileau isn’t calling for new measures as cases rise again
Medicago’s tobacco ties jeopardize growth of its COVID shot
Canadian vaccine maker Medicago’s COVID-19 vaccine, approved last month in Canada, is facing limited growth in the near-term after the World Health Organization said it would not review the vaccine because the company is partly owned by U.S.-Swiss tobacco company Philip Morris, health experts say.
Randy Hillier turns himself over to police, charged for convoy protest activities
Eastern Ontario MPP Randy Hillier walked into Ottawa police headquarters Monday morning to face nine charges stemming from his actions during the weeks-long “Freedom Convoy” occupation of downtown Ottawa.
The 64-year-old is facing two counts of mischief, two of counselling to commit mischief, one of counselling someone to commit an indictable offence, three counts of resisting or obstructing a public or peace officer, and one of assaulting a public or peace officer.
Shanghai locks down as virus surges in China’s financial hub
China’s financial hub of Shanghai launched a two-stage lockdown of its 26 million residents on Monday, closing bridges and tunnels and restricting highway traffic in a scramble to contain surging COVID-19 cases.
Quebec COVID guide: Vaccinations, testing, restrictions
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Growing number of Quebec students, teachers absent because of COVID
Quebec should plan mass second-booster campaign for the fall – vaccine committee