COVID-19 in Canada: Trudeau challenges Trump's claim that vaccine will be available 'in weeks', Quebec wavering at 'tipping point'

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According to Trudeau, the COVID-19 vaccine won't come until the new year
Meetings have to be reduced even further, says the expert
Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia Provincial Health Officer, raised concerns about the spread of COVID-19 at social gatherings, according to Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist, can be seen across the country.
At a news conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to US President Donald Trump's claim that a viable COVID-19 vaccine could be available in a few weeks, if not by the end of the year.
"We hope the vaccines arrive yesterday, but they won't," Trudeau said. "There are still a few months of work to do."
"Reasonable expectation is that vaccines could arrive sometime in the New Year, but even then there will be smaller amounts of doses that need to be distributed to priority populations, I think of the most vulnerable or our frontline workers."
The Prime Minister also said Canada has "an excellent portfolio of vaccine potential" but stressed that "nobody has a vaccine yet".
"There are still trials going on, there are still a number of companies, some closer than others, but we are waiting to make sure these vaccines are effective and that they are safe for Canadians," Trudeau said. "Nothing will be distributed in Canada until Health Canada is absolutely certain that the safety of Canadians is adequately covered and maintained."
PM is looking at the Alberta travel pilot to lead the easing of border restrictions
Alberta is piloting COVID-19 tests at the border, airports
Travelers entering Canada by land or air via Alberta will soon have the option to get tested for COVID-19. A negative test result could cut a traveller's quarantine time from 14 days to 48 hours.
The Prime Minister also commented on yesterday's announcement that Alberta will launch a pilot in November that will allow travelers to be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to the province in order to reduce the required self-isolation time
"We're interested in seeing the outcome of this pilot, but it's only a pilot," Trudeau said. "If we move forward in the coming months and perhaps try to relax some of the border restrictions internationally, we can rely on data to ensure that we primarily keep Canadians safe and control the spread of the virus."
'That is serious'
Speaking more generally about the COVID-19 situation in Canada, the Prime Minister stressed to Canadians that the daily number of cases in the country needs to be reduced, as Canada saw the highest increase in a day on Thursday with 2,786 cases.
"We have to lower these numbers, this is serious and everyone has to do their part," said Trudeau. "People's lives are at stake. We cannot afford to be negligent or believe that this virus will go away on its own."
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, spoke specifically about the increase in outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Canada, including Ontario and Quebec.
"The size of the outbreaks is smaller than in the first wave," identified Dr. Tam, "I'm not sure exactly what that means. It might make people identify things faster and take control measures, and prevention is better, but you really need to watch this area closely."
“It's an important indicator as it will be ahead of the lagging indicator for hospital stays and, of course, mortality. If we now see outbreaks of long-term care, it is very likely that the number of hospitalizations and deaths will increase. "
$ 214 million for COVID-19 vaccines made in Canada
The federal government also announced a $ 214 million investment to develop COVID-19 vaccines from Canada.
Medicago will be allocated up to US $ 173 million to further develop its vaccine candidate and establish a manufacturing facility in Quebec City. The federal government has reached an agreement with the company on access to 76 million doses of their vaccine.
In addition, Vancouver-based Precision NanoSystems will be allocated up to $ 18.2 million to advance vaccine candidate development and testing.
"Canadian researchers are doing a great job and we are here to support it," said Trudeau.
The Prime Minister also said Canada received hundreds of thousands of Panbio COVID-19 rapid tests from Abbott Laboratories that are currently being distributed across the country.
He added that two trucks from the company's ID NOW testing have arrived in Ontario with more to follow shortly.
When asked why these tests were distributed to Ontario but now to Quebec, which is where the highest numbers of care are, Dr. Tam, there had been an "agreement" between provinces and territories regarding the per capita distribution of 80 percent of the supply.
"This is only the first small shipment," she said. "What I've been told ... is that each province is given a per capita allocation and that there is an actual mechanism for provinces to increase capacity if they need it."
Halton could move into modified phase 2 next week
Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford said provincial officials will be discussing the possibility of moving the Halton area to a modified Level 2 over the weekend and said the situation was "very worrying".
"We'll have that answer on Monday," said Ford.
The Prime Minister also commented on famous Canadian chef and restaurant owner Mark McEwan, criticizing the provincial government's restrictions on restaurants in COVID-19 hotspots.
“I have a lot of respect for Mark McEwan. Unfortunately, Mark's not a medical professional, he's a business owner, "said Ford." I have to listen to the health professionals.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health also responded that this step needs to be taken to stop the virus from spreading in the community.
"The idea is that this should flatten the curve, bring the numbers down to manageable levels, and not overwhelm our hospitals," Elliott said. "The evidence also says that if you take these steps now, we will no longer need to get caught in a lockdown period of more economic shutdowns."
The Prime Minister was also asked about long-term care facilities in the province and talks about federal government support.
"If they have a plan to help us with long-term care, two things, we have to sit around the table and second, they have to help fund it," said Ford. "Most of all, we need funding. We need an increase in Canadian health transfer ... I am speaking long term. "
Cases and outbreaks
Cases remain above 800 in Ontario with the seventh Toronto hospital reporting an outbreak
Ontario reported 826 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, including 292 cases in Toronto, 186 in Peel, 87 in Ottawa and 72 in the York area.
The province again confirmed nine more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 3,080. There are currently 276 people living in hospitals, 78 of them in intensive care.
Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto has now reported an outbreak after five COVID-19 cases were identified in a surgical unit and all patients are asymptomatic. There are six other hospitals in the city that have recently reported outbreaks.
Ontario completed 40,019 tests on the last day, with 35,436 tests currently being studied.
Currently, 77 nursing homes in the province are reporting outbreaks, of which 229 are active cases with residents and 237 with staff.
Ontario also reported 72 new school-related COVID-19 cases, including 39 cases from students and six cases from staff.
In Quebec, cases are dropping below 1,000, but at the "tipping point".
Quebec reported 905 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, including 237 in Montreal, 137 in Montérégie and 117 in the Quebec City area.
At a press conference on Friday, Geneviève Guilbault, Deputy Prime Minister of Quebec, said the situation in the Quebec City area was "very critical".
"If we stay on the same path as we are now, we will go straight into a wall," she said. “In some cases, the health system cannot even take care of you. That's the reality."
Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said the region is at a "turning point", adding that he knows people are crazy and don't know when this will be over, but everyone needs to take action in the area obey public health.
"There is no way out, we have to be more vigilant, we have to think about it 24 hours a day," he said.
The province confirmed there had been four deaths in the past 24 hours and six deaths between October 16 and 21. Quebec also reported two other deaths at an unknown date.
Currently 540 people with COVID-19 are living in hospitals and 99 in intensive care units.
A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at the Santa Cabrini Hospital in Montreal and a “massive” emergency room scan is underway.
Montreal residents are advised to avoid the hospital emergency department and anyone with "minor" health problems should see their GP, go to a clinic, or contact 811.
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