Canada's COVID-19 cases: Quebec, Ontario record largest spikes since May; 2,300 people potentially exposed at two Toronto bars

·Editor, Yahoo Canada
·12 min read

On Sunday, Sept. 27, Ontario and Quebec both reported their largest single-day COVID-19 case spikes since early May.

The two provinces are seeing concerning trends as they lead the way for active cases among Canadian jurisdictions.

In Toronto, public health officials are warning the public of potential exposures to COVID-19 at two popular downtown bars, which have a combined 10 linked cases. About 2,300 people may have been exposed to the virus since they were at the venues at the same time as a patient.

One of Quebec’s worst-hit long-term care homes, which has seen 43 fatalities in relation to COVID-19, is once again following self-isolation protocols after learning that one of its staff members tested positive.

For more on Sunday’s top stories, and on how the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, please refer to our live updates below on Yahoo News Canada.

12,759 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 153,125 diagnoses, 9,268 deaths and 131,098 recoveries (as of Sept. 27, 4:30 p.m. ET)

  • Alberta - 1,497 active cases (17,343 total cases, including 261 deaths, 15,585 resolved)

  • British Columbia - 1,349 active cases (8,641 total cases, 230 deaths, 7,036 resolved)

  • Manitoba - 589 active cases (1,880 total cases, 19 deaths, 1,272 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 - 4,196 active cases (49,831 total cases, 2,839 deaths, 42,796 resolved)

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

  • Quebec - 4,947 active cases (71,901 total cases, 5,825 deaths, 61,129 resolved)

  • Saskatchewan - 144 active cases (1,878 total cases, 24 deaths, 1,710 resolved)

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

  • Nunavut - 0 active cases (4 false positive cases)

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

About 2,300 people potentially exposed at two Toronto bars after 10 people test positive

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is warning approximately 2,300 people who visited two popular downtown venues, Regulars Bar and Yonge Street Warehouse, that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

For Regulars Bar, located at 668 King St. W, the period for potential exposure is between Sept. 13-22. Meanwhile, for Yonge Street Warehouse, located at 336 Yonge St., the period is between Sept. 10-17.

Three employees at Regulars have tested positive and worked throughout those days, while five employees and two patrons who are linked to Yonge Street Warehouse have been diagnosed. TPH has said in multiple press releases that it was followed up with all known close contacts, and they have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days and to get tested.

TPH estimates that about 600 people may have been at Regulars, and about 1,700 people at Yonge Street Warehouse, during the same time frames as the 10 identified cases.

Five staff and two patrons have recently tested positive after being at Yonge Street Warehouse in Toronto. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Five staff and two patrons have recently tested positive after being at Yonge Street Warehouse in Toronto. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

If you were at the venues, but have not been contacted, you are not being deemed a close contact and the risk of exposure is being viewed as “low.” You should instead make an effort to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after your last visit.

TPH did not indicate whether the downtown bars were following all COVID-19 precautions, but said that Regulars has “worked cooperatively with TPH throughout this investigation.”

Earlier this week, Doug Ford’s provincial government tightened restrictions for bars and restaurants, while also closing all strip clubs, due to a rise in cases in connection to those establishments. Last call for bars and restaurants is now at 11 p.m., and they must close at midnight.

On Sept. 16, TPH closed three restaurants and bars because “each establishment has not taken the necessary steps to sufficiently protect both the public and employees from the spread of COVID-19,” via press release.

“TPH found a concerning link involving these locations where many people are connected to more than one of the businesses noted. In some cases, for example, people infected with COVID-19 were employed at more than one of these locations.”

One business served food buffet style, which is currently prohibited under provincial regulations. Another business was “uncooperative’ with investigators, while staff were found to be working while ill or pressured to work while ill.

As of Sunday, Toronto currently leads the way in Ontario with 1,421 of the province’s 4,196 active cases of COVID-19.

Ontario identifies 491 new patients, the most since early May

Ontario announced 491 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, which marks its largest single-day spike since May 2.

It’s now the eighth time over the past 10 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.

The most recent group of cases were identified after the province completed 42,509 tests, which is its second largest output throughout the pandemic. The 1.1 per cent positivity rate is one of the highest Ontario has recorded since June.

Two deaths were announced by the Ministry of Health on Sunday, while 289 patients have recently recovered. Throughout the province, there are now 4,196 active cases of COVID-19, the most since May 3.

Ontario has seen its active case count accelerate in a worrisome direction. Two weeks ago on Sept. 13, there were 1,848 currently infected patients throughout the province, while a month ago on Aug. 30 there were 1,181.

Toronto leads the way with 1,421 active cases, followed by Peel (886), Ottawa (617), York (380), Waterloo (139) and Halton (138). The remaining 28 public health units have fewer than 100.

Of the most recent group of 491 cases, 137 were identified in Toronto, 131 in Peel, 58 in both Ottawa and York, 20 in Niagara, 19 in Durham and 13 in Middlesex-London. The remaining 27 public health units reported 10 or fewer cases, while 12 of them reported no new patients at all.

There are 236 new infections among those 20-39 years old, the most of any age group. There are also 118 new cases among those 40-59, and 75 among those 19 and under. Two new cases were identified among long-term care residents, and three among health-care workers. One more LTC resident has also passed away in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch.

Of the province’s active cases, 112 are in hospital, but the Ministry of Health noted that about 35 hospitals did not report their data over the weekend. The 112 patients is still the most Ontario has had since July 24. That includes 28 in ICU, and 16 who require a ventilator.

No update was provided on the situation within schools around the province. As of Friday’s update, there have been 238 total cases throughout 198 schools in Ontario.

Residents, staff self-isolate after a case identified at one of Quebec’s worst-hit CHSLDs

Flowers were left outside Résidence Herron in the spring as it became a focal point in the province's concerning situation within CHSLDs. (Credit: Eric Thomas/AFP via Getty Images)
Flowers were left outside Résidence Herron in the spring as it became a focal point in the province's concerning situation within CHSLDs. (Credit: Eric Thomas/AFP via Getty Images)

Update: Sept. 28

COVID-19 is once again posing problems for one of Quebec’s worst-hit long-term care homes (CHLSD), after a staff member at Résidence Herron tested positive for the virus.

According to The Canadian Press, who received confirmation from the regional health authority, staff at the private care home learned of the case on Saturday morning. The 11 residents and three staff members who were in contact with the infected individual have been tested.

As of Monday morning, the residents have tested negative while the staff members are still in isolation as they await results, said a regional health authority spokesperson to Yahoo News Canada.

Throughout the pandemic, 43 Résidence Herron residents have died due to the virus, according to the latest data from the Quebec government on CHSLDs. The data also notes that Résidence Herron has a case among its residence, but CIUSSS Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal spokesperson, Hélène Bergeron-Gamache, said that information is incorrect.

Earlier this week, a report by the Quebec government was published, which found that Résidence Herron suffered from “organizational negligence,” in the spring. Between March 26-April 16, 38 of its residents passed away, which included a stretch between April 5-10 in which 23 people died.

When the regional health authority, CIUSSS Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, arrived on March 29, it found only three employees caring for 133 residents, since many had deserted their positions upon news of the virus. The facility was reportedly filled with a "nauseating odour of urine and feces" along with unwashed dishes. Many residents were dehydrated, while some were covered in their own excrements.

The report said if management at the private seniors' home understood its responsibilities and used its available resources, "it is reasonable to conclude that the Grim Reaper would not have been as devastating."

The health authority ultimately took over management from the facility on April 7, while the Canadian Armed Forces were also deployed to help with staffing issues. Quebec’s association of private senior’s residences suspended Résidence Herron in May, but it’s the government that decides whether the owner, Groupe Katasa, can keep its permit to continue running the facility.

Investigations by the police and the Quebec coroner are still ongoing, while an application for a class-action lawsuit has been filled by family members of the residents.

Quebec sees another massive spike, this time with 896 cases

Quebec announced 896 new cases on Sunday, the most in a 24-hour stretch since its May 8 update.

It’s now the ninth 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 enjoyed multiple stretches where it consistently reported fewer than 100 daily cases as it contained the spread of COVID-19 within the province.

Two more people have died in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch, while two more fatalities that occurred between Sept. 20-25 were also added to its death toll of 5,825. The province noted on Sunday that 469 more patients have recovered, so there are now 4,947 currently infected patients in Quebec.

Two weeks ago on Sept. 13, the province had 1,938 active cases, and a month ago (Aug. 30) there were 1,294 active patients. Currently, its 4,947 active cases are the most of any jurisdiction in Canada.

Of the recently identified 896 cases in Quebec, 375 are in Montreal, 120 in Quebec City, 83 in Montérégie, 64 in Laval, 57 in Chaudière-Appalaches, 42 Laurentides, 40 in Lanaudière, 37 in Estrie, 35 Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec, 18 in Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine and 14 in Outaouais. Five of its 18 health regions reported no new cases at all.

A woman wears a face mask as she walks through a market in Montreal, which has been Canada's epicentre throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes)
A woman wears a face mask as she walks through a market in Montreal, which has been Canada's epicentre throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes)

At the moment, Montreal, Laval, Chaudière-Appalaches and Outaouais are in the Orange stage (the second highest) on the province’s colour-coded scale, which indicates the severity of the virus within a region. Certain sub regions in Quebec City are also in Orange, while the majority of the province is among the two lowest: Yellow and Green.

Quebec’s testing numbers are reflective of its output from two days prior. Most recently, it completed 30,935 tests for COVID-19, as it continues to push its capacity.

Of the province’s currently infected individuals, there are 216 in hospital and 41 in intensive care, down by one and four since Saturday, respectively.

No update was provided Saturday morning for the situation in schools, but as of the last report there are 632 currently infected students and 90 staff in the province. So far, at least 427 class bubbles have been sent home and asked to learn remotely. Of the province’s 3,089 schools, 489 of them have had a case of COVID-19, so far.

Updates from the rest of Canada

Manitoba health officials have identified 51 new cases of COVID-19, throughout the Winnipeg (36), Interlake-Eastern (eight), Southern (four), Northern (two) and Prairie Mountain (one) health regions. The update increases its active case count to a record-high 589, with Winnipeg being home to 490 of the currently infected patients. One more COVID-19 exposure warning has also been released for a school in Winnipeg.

No new cases were identified in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, as those provinces continue to have one and seven active cases, respectively. As of Prince Edward Island’s last update on Wednesday, it also has one currently infected resident.

One new case was identified in Newfoundland and Labrador, involving an individual in the Eastern Health region between 20-39 years old. The patient recently returned from travel to Manitoba, but has been self-isolating since their return. Throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, there are now two active cases.

Fifteen more cases have been identified in Saskatchewan, throughout the Central East (eight), Regina (four, North Central (one) and Saskatoon (one) zones. The location of the remaining case is still pending. Since five more people have recovered, there are now 144 active cases in the province. The Saskatoon zone, its epicentre, is home to 84 of those currently infected patients. Saskatchewan Health Authority is also warning of a potential exposure to COVID-19 at two businesses in Regina.

Timelines of cases prior to today:

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