Canada's COVID-19 cases: Quebec sees second largest ever spike with 1,107 on Saturday; Virus returns to seniors home that had B.C.'s deadliest outbreak

Bryan Meler
·Associate Editor, Yahoo News Canada

On Saturday, Oct. 3, jurisdictions around Canada reported 1,814 new cases of COVID-19, 53 fatalities and 1,253 recently recovered patients.

As customary on the weekends, Alberta and British Columbia did not provide an update on their respective situations, while two cases were also removed from Manitoba’s total. However, Canada’s active case count still went count by 506, leaving 16,142 currently infected individuals nationwide.

Ontario reported 653 new cases of COVID-19 as new restrictions for the entire province came into effect on Saturday, as well as specific ones for its three hotspots — Toronto, Peel and Ottawa. Another backlog of 37 fatalities was also added to its death toll.

In Quebec, health officials identified 1,107 new infections, the second most in a 24-hour stretch since the start of the pandemic. It’s also now the second straight day that Canada’s worst-hit province has reported 1000-plus new infections, a feat no other province has accomplished even once.

In Manitoba, the active count case reached a new record-high of 677, as a concerning trend continues to develop in the province’s capital. In British Columbia, a staff member has tested positive at Langley Lodge, which was home to the province’s most fatal long-term care outbreak earlier in the year.

For more on Saturday’s top stories, and on how the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, please refer to our live updates below, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

16,142 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 164,471 diagnoses, 9,462 deaths and 138,867 recoveries (as of Oct. 3, 4:30 p.m. ET)

  • Alberta - 1,558 active cases (18,357 total cases, including 272 deaths, 16,527 resolved)

  • British Columbia - 1,302 active cases (9,381 total cases, 238 deaths, 7,813 resolved)

  • Manitoba - 677 active cases (2,108 total cases, 22 deaths, 1,409 resolved)

  • New Brunswick - 6 active cases (201 cases, 2 deaths, 193 resolved)

  • Newfoundland and Labrador - 3 active case (276 total cases, 4 deaths, 269 resolved)

  • Northwest Territories - 0 active cases (5 total cases, 5 resolved)

  • Nova Scotia - 3 active cases (1,089 total cases, 65 deaths 1,021 resolved)

  • Ontario - 5,380 active cases (53,633 total cases, 2,968 deaths, 45,285 resolved)

  • Prince Edward Island - 2 active case (59 total cases, 57 resolved)

  • Quebec -  7,035 active cases (77,380 total cases, 5,867 deaths, 64,478 resolved)

  • Saskatchewan - 148 active cases (1,954 total cases, 24 deaths, 1,782 resolved)

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

  • Nunavut - 0 active cases (8 presumptive positive cases)

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

Quebec records its second most ever daily cases with 1,107

Quebec reported 1,107 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the second most it has ever recorded in a 24-hour stretch since the start of the pandemic. 

On May 3, the province did announce 2,209 cases, but that was in part due to a data error that missed 1,317 positive cases in April. The record for a single-day spike was set on May 1 with 1,110. 

This latest update marks the ninth straight day that Canada’s worst-hit province has recorded at least 600 cases. Before the recent stretch, it had not hit that mark since May 26. Since then, it has also experienced multiple stretches where the province consistently reported fewer than 100 daily cases as it contained the spread of COVID-19.

Since it recorded 1,052 new patients on Friday, Quebec has now announced at least 1,000 cases on two straight occasions. It’s a grim feat no other province has accomplished even once throughout the pandemic.

Of the latest 1,107 cases, 411 were identified in Montreal, 153 in Quebec CIty, 142 in Montérégie, 86 in Laval, 65 in Chaudière-Appalaches, 63 in Laurentides, 55 in Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec, 53 in Lanaudière and 23 each in Estrie and Outaouais. Of Quebec’s 18 regions, four of them reported zero new cases. 

On Thursday, enhanced restrictions under the province’s red alert (the highest) came into effect for the greater Montreal region, Chaudiere-Appalaches and the majority of the Quebec City region. The restrictions on gatherings and businesses are expected to last at least 28 days. 

On Friday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said that the “situation is really critical,” and that the province “might need to close other activities in the coming days.”

In the latest 24-hour stretch, one person has died, however the province added nine other fatalities from previous dates to its death toll (5,867). In addition, 795 more people have recovered, which brings the province’s active case count to 7,035, the highest in Canada. 

Quebec’s testing numbers are reflective of its output from two days prior. Most recently, it completed 30,932 tests for COVID-19, as it continues to push its capacity.

Of the province’s currently infected individuals, there are 326 in hospital and 60 in intensive care, up by 24 and 11 since Friday, respectively.

Virus returns to long-term care that was home to British Columbia’s most fatal outbreak

A staff member at one of B.C. hardest hit long-term care homes has tested positive, prompting a third outbreak to be declared since the start of the pandemic. 

Langley Lodge made national headlines when at least 25 of its residents died due to COVID-19 between April-July, making it the most fatal long-term care outbreak in the province. Throughout that outbreak, the second for the facility in Langley, there were a total of 51 cases among residents and 15 among staff. In late March, the long-term care facility had its first outbreak, but it resulted in no fatalities. 

The latest outbreak was declared by Fraser Health on Oct. 2. The staff member is currently in self-isolation at their home, according to a press release by the health department. 

A rapid response team is currently at the site, which is owned and operated by the Langley Care Society. Fraser Health is actively trying to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the staff member. 

Visitation has been restricted at the facility, along with staff and resident movement within the long-term care home. Cleaning and infection control measures have been enhanced, while officials will complete screening twice a day for all staff and residents. 

It’s unclear at the moment if the staff member was considered infectious while they worked at the facility. Fraser Health did not respond to Yahoo News Canada in time for publication.

Langley Lodge recorded at least 25 fatalities related to COVID-19 during its second outbreak. (Credit: Ben Nelms/CBC)
Langley Lodge recorded at least 25 fatalities related to COVID-19 during its second outbreak. (Credit: Ben Nelms/CBC)

On Sept. 16, an internal document by Langley Care Society CEO Debra Hauptman was leaked to Glacier Media, which described the situation within the LTC amid the second outbreak that led to 25 deaths.

According to the report, a staff member worked two shifts while feeling unwell, but didn’t report their symptoms and avoided the screening desk at the end of their last shift. The staff member provided care to 16 separate residents on two separate units, while there was a possible breach of personal protective equipment. 

The virus ultimately spread to the facility’s unit for people with dementia and other cognitive impairments. It made it hard for staff to isolate residents from each other “due to wandering” and a lack of understanding of the situation.

The report also described an “unanticipated, dramatic drop in staffing levels, leading to ongoing, critical staffing shortages” since nurses walked away due to insufficient personal protective equipment and housekeeping services experienced a “huge drop-out rate” due to burnout, according to Glacier Media. 

“The intent is not to lay blame or point fingers or push responsibility on to other parties,” said Hauptman  to Glacier Media after the leak of the document. “[It was] to help us approach the second wave should it come.” 

At the end of May, Fraser Health ultimately appointed a director to oversee the facility. Its second outbreak was declared over July 3.

Ontario’s worrisome trend continues as new restrictions come into effect

Ontario reported 653 new cases of COVID-19 after completing a record-high 46,254 tests.

The 1.4 per cent positivity rate is among the top five highest the province has recorded since June. It’s also now the sixth-straight day that Ontario has surpassed the 500-daily case mark, which it had not previously hit since May 2. 

Of the recent group of 653 patients, 284 were identified in Toronto, 104 in Peel and 97 in Ottawa, which have been deemed the province’s hotspots, and will face new gathering restrictions starting Saturday. There were also 50 cases identified in York, 18 in Waterloo, 16 in Hamilton, and 12 each in both Halton and Niagara. The remaining 26 public health units reported 10 or fewer, while eight reported no new patients at all.

Four more people have died in the past 24 hours in Ontario, but the Ministry of Health also announced 37 additional fatalities that were added to the death toll due to a data remediation.

Since 435 more people have recovered, there are now 5,380 active cases across Ontario, the most since April 28, when the province was at the peak of its first wave.

Toronto currently leads the way with 2,178 currently infected patients, followed by Peel (992), Ottawa (861) and York (429). The remaining 30 public health units have fewer than 125 active cases.

Of the province’s 5,203 currently infected patients, there are 155 people in hospital, down by 12 since Friday. That includes 41 in intensive care and 23 who require a ventilator, the most since July 1 and July 21, respectively.

Of the recent 653 cases, 322 of them were among people between 20-39 years old, the most of any age group. There were also 157 new cases among those 40-59 and 99 among those 19 and under. Forty-one cases involve long-term care residents, while of the 41 fatalities added to the death toll on Saturday, 39 involve LTC patients.

Throughout the province, “social circles” of 10-people have been paused and instead people are advised to only closely interact with those in their household. Starting Saturday, masks will now be required in all public indoor settings, such as on public transit, in shopping centres and workplaces when physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained.

In its three hotspots of Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, indoor capacity for restaurants, bars and nightclubs has been capped at 100. In Toronto, it’s already limited to 75. In addition, people must maintain a two-metre distance, and there can be no more than six people at a table. Contact information from each patron must also be collected.

In the three hotspots, gyms and other fitness settings can only have a maximum of 50 people at a time, with only 10 for a specific class. At meeting and event facilities, such as banquet halls, a cap of 50 people will also be in place, including six per table.

Ontario’s backlog of tests continues to grow, this time to a record-high 91,322. In order to catch up on the backlog and create a winter-based testing approach, the province will now move to appointment-based testing. Walk-in testing will be discontinued Oct. 4.

Manitoba once again sees another record-high for active cases

Manitoba health officials have announced 38 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, throughout the Winnipeg (33), Interlake-Eastern (three) and Prairie Mountain (two) zones. Two cases were also recently removed from the tally.

The update increases the province’s active case count to 677, which marks the sixth time in the past eight days that it has recorded a new record-high for currently infected patients. 

The province has seen its active case count rise exponentially over the past few weeks. Two weeks ago on Sept. 19, there were 331 active cases while a week ago (Sept. 26), there were 545 infected residents across Manitoba. The majority of the 677 active cases are located in Winnipeg, which is home to 591 of those patients.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, did not hold a press conference on Saturday to discuss the latest spike, but over the past few weeks he’s revealed concerning trends, primarily in Winnipeg. 

“We're definitely seeing that 20 to 29 age group, which is propagating the transmission of the virus right now in Winnipeg,” said Roussin on Thursday. “A lot of that is associated with the restaurant and the bar sector, which we're actively working with right now.”

Last week, Roussin said that half of its recent cases in Winnipeg are linked to bars, pubs and restaurants. In some cases, people were visiting more than one venue in a night while symptomatic. The province is currently looking at additional enforcement measures, and an update on potential changes for the bar and restaurant sector is expected in the near future.

Due to the rise in cases, starting on Sept. 28, people in the Winnipeg metropolitan region are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, while indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Starting Oct. 7, masks will be required all throughout Manitoba at health-care centres.

In a press release Saturday, health officials announced an outbreak has been declared at St. Norbert Personal Care Home in Winnipeg.

Along with the 38 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, 10 more people have recovered, and one more person has died for the second straight day. The latest victim was a female in her 80s and was connected to the Parkview Place personal care home outbreak. Health officials did not provide an update on hospitalizations on Saturday.

Updates from the rest of Canada

Nova Scotia reported no new patients on Saturday, as it continues to have three active cases, including one in intensive care, according to CBC. As of Prince Edward Island’s latest update on Sept. 29, there remain two currently infected individuals in its jurisdiction.

One new patient was identified in Newfoundland and Labrador, involving a male in the Western Health region between 60-69 years old, who recently returned from Central Africa. The latest patient has unfortunately passed away, according to a press release by officials, which raises the province’s death toll to four. Even though he was presymptomatic during travel, officials have released information of the flights he was on to return to Newfoundland and Labrador out of an abundance of caution. There are still three active cases in the province.

One new case of COVID-19 was identified in New Brunswick, breaking a seven-day streak of reporting no new cases in the province. The latest patient is between 20-29 years old in the Saint John region and it is believed that their reason for infection is related to travel outside of the Atlantic bubble. On Saturday, New Brunswick health officials notified the public about an ongoing outbreak tied to Woodland Pulp, a paper mill in Baileyville, Maine. Currently, there are 12 cases linked to the mill in the United States.

“At this time, we are not aware of any confirmed cases from this site of employment that pose a risk to the residents of St. Stephen,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health in a press release. “We anticipate that over the coming two days we will receive additional results from the testing being undertaken in Maine.”

Saskatchewan health officials reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, throughout the Central East (four), Saskatoon (three), Regina (two), South Central (two), South East (two) and South West (one) zones. In the same stretch, 13 more people have recovered, which leaves 148 active cases throughout the province.

Yorkton, which is in the Central East zone, currently has 19 active cases. Health officials continue to look into various clusters in the community, such as at its high school, hospital and RCMP detachment, with officials believing upon an initial investigation that there’s a possible to link to a local fitness facility.

On Saturday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority released a list of 21 exposure warnings throughout businesses in Yorkton, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Pelly, Fort Qu'Appelle, Regina, Balgonie and Norquay.

Timelines of cases prior to today: