Today’s Coronavirus: Ontario Hospitals Canceling Surgeries; WHO says global cases and deaths have declined

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

5:45 Healthcare worker COVID-19 infections — among the highest since the start of the pandemic — are driving canceled or delayed surgeries and reduced emergency department hours and capacity at several hospitals across the region. province.

Staff absences are also forcing hospitals to redeploy nurses to replace sick colleagues and to ask some to work overtime to lessen the impact on patient care — a situation that contributes to burnout, according to front line workers.

New data from Ontario’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Table shows that the number of acute care healthcare workers infected with the virus each day is at the same level as at the height of the last Omicron wave, and is likely even higher because the official numbers come only from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which is not required by all Ontario hospitals for sick staff.

Learn more about The Star’s Kenyon Wallace.

5:30 The World Health Organization says the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases globally fell by almost a quarter last week, continuing its decline since late March.

The Geneva-based United Nations health agency said in a weekly report that nearly 5.59 million cases were reported between April 11 and April 17, 24% less than the previous week. The number of newly reported deaths fell 21% to 18,215.

The WHO said new cases had declined in all regions, but only by 2% in the Americas. The report was dated Wednesday evening and sent to reporters Thursday.

The agency said that “these trends should be interpreted with caution as several countries are gradually changing their testing strategies for COVID-19, resulting in a drop in the overall number of tests performed and, consequently, a drop in the number of cases. detected”.

5:15 a.m. Lu Muying died on April 1 at a government quarantine facility in Shanghai, with her family on the phone as doctors tried to resuscitate her. She had tested positive for COVID-19 in late March and was transferred there in line with government policy that all coronavirus cases should be centrally isolated.

But the 99-year-old, who was just two weeks away from her 100th birthday, was not counted as a COVID-19 death in Shanghai’s official tally. In fact, the city of more than 25 million people has reported just 25 coronavirus deaths despite an outbreak that lasted nearly two months and infected hundreds of thousands of people in the world’s third-largest city.

Lu’s death underscores how the true scale of Shanghai’s virus toll has been obscured by Chinese authorities. Doctors told Lu’s relatives that she died because COVID-19 exacerbated her underlying heart disease and high blood pressure, but she still hasn’t been counted.

Interviews with family members of patients who tested positive, a publicized phone call with a government health official and an internet archive compiled by the families of the dead all raise questions about how the city counts its cases and deaths, almost certainly resulting in a marked undercount.

5 a.m. For two years, Brampton’s mother, Karyn Keith, took extra precautions to avoid getting sick with COVID-19. She sanitized and washed her hands frequently, wiped down her shopping with Lysol wipes and kept her daughter in school online until February.

Despite her efforts, Keith and her husband, an auto technician, both fell ill with the virus last month after Ontario lifted most of its COVID-19 public health measures. She can’t help but feel angry, as if the sacrifices and isolation her family had endured were for naught.

“How did we go from ‘we’re in this together, we’re a united community’ to ‘every man for himself and I hope you cross over OK?'” Keith wondered.

The sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was like no other. For two years, day-to-day decision-making has been informed by government mandates that guided people on things like when to wear a mask and how many people can safely congregate indoors at any given time. But since most pandemic guidelines were lifted in March, these tools for curbing the spread of COVID-19 have suddenly become a personal choice.

Learn more about Nadine Yousif from the Star.


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of conduct. The Star does not share these opinions.

Leave a Comment