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Ontario, Alberta report record-high spikes; Quebec sees 202 new school cases

On Thursday, Oct. 8, Ontario reported a record-high spike of 797 new cases of COVID-19. In addition, 100 new cases were identified in the K-12 school setting, in a 24-hour stretch in which 36 learning institutions reported their first case.

In Quebec, more than 1,000 new patients were identified for the sixth time over a seven-day stretch, as worrisome trends continue to develop in multiple regions of the province. In addition, 202 new cases were identified among students and staff.

Sixty-seven new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Manitoba, which marks the second-largest spike the province has recorded since the start of the pandemic. In addition, its active case count hit another record high of 863.

In Alberta, health officials identified 364 new cases, the most ever in a 24-hour stretch for the province. Of those patients, 276 were identified in its epicentre of Edmonton, where new voluntary restrictions have been introduced.

For more on today’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.

18,297 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 173,449 diagnoses, 9,556 deaths and 145,406 recoveries (as of Oct. 8, 5:30 p.m. ET)

  • Alberta – 2,097 active cases (19,718 total cases, including 283 deaths, 17,338 resolved)

  • British Columbia – 1,387 active cases (9,956 total cases, 244 deaths, 8,296 resolved)

  • Manitoba – 863 active cases (2,344 total cases, 27 deaths, 1,454 resolved)

  • New Brunswick – 24 active cases (225 cases, 2 deaths, 199 resolved)

  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 4 active case (277 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 – 5,442 active cases (56,742 total cases, 2,992 deaths, 48,308 resolved)

  • Prince Edward Island – 3 active case (61 total cases, 58 resolved)

  • Quebec – 8,492 active cases (82,992 total cases, 5,915 deaths, 68,585 resolved)

  • Saskatchewan – 143 active cases (2,012 total cases, 24 deaths, 1,845 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)

Ontario reports a record-high case spike, with 100 new patients linked to schools

Ontario reported a record-high 797 new cases of COVID-19, four deaths and 695 recoveries.

It’s the 11th straight day the province has exceeded the 500-case mark and during which Ontario broke its own record on three occasions. Before the recent stretch, the province had not reported at least 500 cases since May 2.

There are now 5,442 active cases throughout the province. The most Ontario has ever had was on April 25, when there were 5,675 infected patients province-wide.

Of the most recent 797 cases, 265 were identified in Toronto, 182 in Ottawa, 134 in Peel, 78 in York, 33 in Halton, 24 in Simcoe-Muskoka, 22 in Durham, and 11 each in Middlesex-London and Hamilton.

Coronavirus spikes are ‘driven more by our behaviors,’ doctor explains

Parts of the U.S. are experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases over the last several weeks, and experts fear it will only get worse as flu season begins.

“I’m reluctant to assign any of this to a change in the virus itself,” Dr. Seth Trueger, an emergency medicine physician based out of Chicago, said on Yahoo Finance’s The Ticker (video above). “It almost certainly is driven more by our behaviors and how we’re interacting with each other.”

The most prominent example of new transmission is President Trump, who tested positive for the virus and is now hospitalized as he recovers. The president, who has held public rallies and largely avoids wearing a mask, has been vocal about states reopening as soon as possible to help their struggling economies.

President Donald Trump holds up his facemask during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
President Donald Trump holds up his facemask during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

‘Really troubling’

Several states are seeing a new rise in the number of cases.

“This is really troubling,” Trueger said. “But unfortunately, it’s not really unexpected. What we’re seeing is a combination of a number of things. As weather gets colder, people are going to spend more time inside, and we know that indoors transmission is certainly higher than outdoors or in other places, especially as people spend more time with each other.” 

The Pacific northwest is seeing a surge in cases. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
The Pacific northwest is seeing a surge in cases. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

Indoor dining has resumed in nearly every state, including New Jersey and New York City, two areas that had the most number of cases early on in the pandemic. In several states, capacity is limited to 25% but even that can spell trouble if safety guidelines aren’t properly followed, including keeping tables six feet apart, mandating masks for all staff and customers not eating, and keeping bar areas shut down. 

“This is hard for all of us,” Trueger added. “We’ve been doing this for months. And it’s really easy to let things slide. It’s really easy for that fatigue to set in, where: ‘Do I really need to wear my mask?’ We’ve been doing this for so long. ‘Is it time to have my kids do play dates? Is it time to go out to bars?’”

A bar manager at The Jackalope talks with agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as they check that bars are maintaining social distancing protocols to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in Austin, Texas, May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Nuri Vallbona
A bar manager at The Jackalope talks with agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as they check that bars are maintaining social distancing protocols to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in Austin, Texas, May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Nuri Vallbona

Some states that reopened too quickly had to revert back to their restrictions after seeing a surge in cases. 

“Just because we’re all exhausted from it doesn’t mean that it’s safe to do it,” Trueger said. “A lot of states are starting to do things like barge ahead because they want the economy to rebound. They want people to be doing better. But unfortunately, until we get the virus under control, it’s not going to be safe to open things up.” 

Bars, movie theaters, and

Kansas health chief predicts bigger COVID-19 spikes to come

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The top public health official in Kansas said Wednesday that the state has yet to see its biggest wave of coronavirus cases, suggesting the pandemic could spawn an average of 800 or even 900 new cases a day in coming months.

Dr. Lee Norman, the head of the state Department of Health and Environment, said Kansas is likely to surpass the record numbers of new confirmed and probable cases it has recently seen. The state had an average of 646 new cases a day for the seven days ending Wednesday, second only to the 667 cases per day for the seven days ending Monday.

While the state’s most populous counties have continued to generate hundreds of new cases every week, rural areas also have been seeing spikes. And health department data released Wednesday showed that outbreaks have returned to the state’s prison system.

The health department said Kansas saw 1,120 new confirmed and probable cases since Monday, an increase of 1.9%, bringing the total to 59,729. Norman said he thinks the state will see cases level off at the current daily increases, then “take off” for a “second wave.”

Norman said the likelihood of larger numbers demonstrates the need for continued “vigilance” in wearing masks and social distancing. He said efforts in March and April that included a statewide stay-at-home order and the closing of K-12 schools, cut down on the numbers of new cases but, “we would prefer not to go down that road again.”

“We have a long ways to go,” Norman said during a Statehouse news conference. “That really brings up, focuses on, why we need a vaccine.”

The number of coronavirus cases is thought to be higher because people can be infected without feeling ill and because of limited testing early in the pandemic. Norman said he believes Kansas is “close” to having its actual number of cases represent 3% to 5% of its population — from 87,000 to 145,000 cases.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.

In Kansas, COVID-19-related deaths continue to represent about 1.1% of the number of reported cases.

The state health department reported 41 new COVID-19-related deaths since Monday, bringing the total to 678. However, the department said 21 of those occurred earlier this year and were reported after officials examined death certificates.

The health department also reported that there are active clusters of five or more cases in four prisons and an inmate work-release program in Wichita. They account for 244 cases within the past 14 days.

The health department said the prison in Hutchinson has had 85 active cases in the past two weeks and the state’s prison mental health center in Larned has had 79.

The state saw a massive outbreak at its prison in Lansing earlier this

Hospitals feel squeeze as coronavirus spikes in Midwest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The coronavirus tightened its grip on the American heartland, with infections surging in the Midwest, some hospitals in Wisconsin and North Dakota running low on space and the NFL postponing a game over an outbreak that’s hit the Tennessee Titans football team.

Midwestern states are seeing some of the nation’s highest per capita rates of infection, and while federal health officials again urged some governors in the region to require masks statewide, many Republicans have resisted.

Like other states, health officials in Wisconsin had warned since the pandemic began that COVID-19 patients could overwhelm hospitals. That’s now happening for some facilities as experts fear a second wave of infections in the U.S.

A record number of people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Wisconsin. Of those 737 patients Wednesday, 205 were in intensive care, with spikes in cases in northern parts of the state driving up the numbers. The state also reported its highest single-day number of deaths — 27 — raising the toll to 1,327.

Officials at ThedaCare, a community health system of seven hospitals, said they have exceeded capacity in the COVID-19 unit at their medical center in Appleton, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Milwaukee. It’s started sending patients to other hospitals some 40 miles (64 kilometers) away.

Wisconsin health officials reported 2,319 new infections, bringing the total number to 122,274.

In North Dakota, hospitals are adding extra space amid concerns from employees about capacity. Nearly 678 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people have been diagnosed over the past two weeks, leading the country for new cases per capita, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

A new Sanford Health hospital unit opened in the capital of Bismarck to add 14 more beds, with nearly half of those for intensive care patients. The space isn’t exclusively for coronavirus patients but could be used to treat them if needed.

Overall, North Dakota has reported 21,846 infections and 247 deaths. There are 89 people now hospitalized.

The upswing has been seen throughout the Midwest. Iowa also reported a spike in people hospitalized with the virus, to 390. Last week, the state had the nation’s sixth-highest rate of coronavirus infections per 100,000 people, according to a White House coronavirus task force report dated Sunday. It again recommended Iowa require masks statewide, which Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has said is unnecessary.

Similarly, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has said he won’t impose such a requirement. The task force report found his state is among the worst in the United States for positive coronavirus tests per 100,000 people, up 15% from a week ago.

The number of reported coronavirus cases in Oklahoma increased by 980 on Wednesday, with 13 additional deaths, state health officials said. A total of 1,031 people have died of the virus there.

The strain of the virus in the Midwest comes as President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, sparred over the pandemic during the first presidential debate. Trump defended his handling of the