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COVID-19: Provincial data show unvaccinated account for overwhelming majority of cases

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Recent data released by Public Health Ontario illustrates the wide divide in case numbers between those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.

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The agency tracked cases from the outset of Ontario’s vaccination program on Dec. 14 up to July 10, and found that of the more than 10 million Ontarians who had received at least one vaccine dose, only 16,358 (0.16 per cent of cases) became infected when they were partially vaccinated, and 1,765 (0.02 per cent) became infected when they were fully vaccinated.

The trend was visible in Ottawa: During the period from Dec. 14 to July 10, there were only 65 symptomatic breakthrough cases and 127 asymptomatic breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people in the capital, representing, in both instances, less than one per cent of all cases during the period.

Those infections in fully immunized people are considered “breakthrough” cases.

Officials also found the number of post-vaccination cases declines dramatically with time.

The number of post-vaccination cases “appears to decrease at about ten days after dose one,” officials wrote, and there is a “marked decrease” in post-vaccination cases after 28 or more days after the first dose, while “very few cases” are reported following the second dose.

Hospital admissions and ICU admissions for partially-vaccinated and breakthrough cases is much lower than the proportion of admissions among unvaccinated cases, and the proportion of age-specific fatalities shows a similar trend.

As physician Dr. Jennifer Kwan reported via Twitter, in the period from June 12 to July 10, unvaccinated people accounted for 95.7 per cent of total cases, 97.4 per cent of hospitalizations, 99.5 per cent of ICU admissions and 98.5 per cent of deaths.

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As of July 10, about 21 per cent of of the population was unvaccinated.

That 21 per cent proportion accounted for 57 per cent of total cases, 75.2 per cent of hospitalizations, 83.9 per cent of ICU admissions and 84.9 per cent of deaths.

Of the 265 deaths reported in that time frame, 225 were among unvaccinated people, while 29 (10.9 per cent) were among those who were partially-vaccinated, and 11 deaths (4.2 per cent) were among the who had received both doses.

Meanwhile, Ontario is reporting 129 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and five related deaths Tuesday.

That includes four new cases in Ottawa, according to provincial data.

There are 37 new cases in Toronto, 22 in Peel and 12 in Hamilton. Renfrew County, Hastings Prince Edward County, and in the Eastern Ontario public health unit each reported one new case. No new cases were identified in Kingston or in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.

There were 13,644 tests conducted in the past 24 hours province wide with a 1.0 per cent test positivity.

Another 92,035 vaccine doses were administered Monday as Ontario surpassed the 80 per cent target for first doses.

A total of 19,110,428 vaccine doses have now been administered in the province, and according to the latest data, 80.4 per cent of eligible residents (age 12-plus) have received their first shot.

A total 8,702,111 people have now been fully immunized with both doses, which represents 67.3 per cent of the eligible population.

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There have now been 549,576 total cases in Ontario and 9,321 deaths. Another 158 cases were resolved in the past 24 hours and 538,860 people have now recovered.

There are 125 patients currently in hospital, with an additional 127 in intensive care, including 81 who require a ventilator.

(*Note: Ontario Public Health statistics of ICU hospitalizations and ventilator cases contain some patients who no longer test positive for COVID-19 but who are being treated for conditions caused by the virus.)

Latest COVID-19 news from Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health reported three new cases Tuesday as key local indicators continue to decline.

There have been 27,785 total cases and 593 related deaths in Ottawa. There are 42 active cases in the city, a number that has remained flat this week, with one patient in hospital and none in ICU. Of Ottawa’s total cases, 27,150 are now considered resolved.

There were 382 tests conducted Monday with a 0.52 per cent positivity, which is below the past week’s average 0.6 per cent.

Ottawa has reported 41 new cases over the past seven days with a weekly average 3.9 case per 100,000 population.

Nearly 70 per cent of eligible residents have now been fully immunized with two vaccine doses, according to Tuesday’s local data.

There have been 1,416,743 total doses administered in the city, with 768,001 eligible residents (12-plus) with at least one dose (83 per cent) and 638,520 who have received both doses (69 per cent).

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The virus reproduction rate, however, continues to hover above 1.0, meaning the spread has yet to be contained in the community, with the R(t) rate at 1.1 over the past week.

That indicator had been below the 1.0 threshold from mid-April to early July.

While the delta variant has ravaged some regions of the province, with the spread attributed to outbreaks, spikes in daily case counts, hospitalizations and severe outcomes, the variant has not been as prevalent in the eastern part of the province.

In Ottawa, there have been 44 confirmed cases of the delta variant, none linked to deaths, with nine new cases over the past 30 days, according to OPH data.

The alpha variant (B.1.1.7) has been such more common in Ottawa with 6,833 confirmed cases, accounting for 75 per cent of all variants of concern and other mutations , and linked to 62 deaths. There have been 22 confirmed cases of the alpha variant in the past 30 days in Ottawa.

Latest COVID-19 news nationally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging Canadians who still have not had a COVID-19 vaccine to roll up their sleeves, saying that the overwhelming majority of new cases are in people who haven’t received their two shots.

Trudeau says only half of one per cent of cases being recorded are in fully vaccinated people.

The prime minister says the vaccines are safe, they have passed Canada’s world-class standard for medical approvals and they work.

He also notes they are available as Canada now has enough vaccines delivered to fully immunize everyone who is eligible for a shot, working out to over 66 million doses in total.

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Trudeau says with enough doses for everyone, there is “no excuse” not to get a shot.

“The unfortunate reality is, with the delta variant and other variants of concern out there, it is likely that we will see a rise in cases over the coming months, but (infections) will primarily be limited to unvaccinated people. And certainly the serious health outcomes, the overwhelming of our health care in certain parts of the country, which is potentially possible, is of real concern.

“But at the same time, so many millions of Canadians have stepped up and done the right thing and gotten vaccinated… if people are at the point where they’re saying, ‘I’m going to let everyone else get vaccinated, and then I’ll be kept safe … Well, if everyone else gets vaccinated, they will be kept safe, you (unvaccinated people) will not be safe.”

Trudeau made the remarks after touring a vaccine clinic in Moncton, N.B., and he is scheduled to make an announcement alongside the premier of Prince Edward Island later today.

Meanwhile, Canada’s largest airport is no longer splitting arriving international passengers into different customs lines based on their vaccination status.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport announced last week it may be sorting travellers arriving from the U.S. or other international locations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues.

But a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the practice has been discontinued as of Monday. Beverly MacDonald says in a statement that the airport has determined separating vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated travellers into different customs lines “results in minimal operational efficiencies.”

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She says entry requirements related to vaccination status will now be enforced once a passenger reaches a customs officer.

Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents are now able to forgo a 14-day quarantine when arriving in Canada from abroad.

The federal government announced two new projects Tuesday promoting the importance of vaccination to youth, parents and caretakers and teachers through in-school interventions and community outreach.

BGC Canada (formerly Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada) will receive up to $500,000 to promote vaccination among youth and to “foster evidence-based dialogue around vaccination among families of children and youth who access programming at local Clubs across Canada.”

The Canada Safety Council will receive up to $220,000 in funding, the government announced, to create a COVID-19 vaccine education and awareness program for schools.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu was optimistic the education and awareness campaign would have a broad reach, with Canada having recently hit the milestone of acquiring 66 million doses.

“We have enough,” Hajdu said to applause at a stop in Peel region Tuesday. “We’re aiming for every eligible Canadian to be vaccinated. This is how we’ll protect ourselves, protect our communities, our economy, and really reduce the suffering that COVID-19 represents for all of us.”

Hajdu shared an update on discussions with pharmaceutical manufacturers about a vaccine for youth aged 12 and under.

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“I was just meeting with Pfizer and Moderna just prior (to Tuesday’s announcement) and we anticipate they will submit to Health Canada in the fall, but until they submit for approval, we know that our children are unprotected … This is the time for all of us to pull together and finish that job.”

Latest COVID-19 news from Quebec

Quebec is reporting 73 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths on Tuesday.

The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations declined by one from the day before, to 66, and 21 people are in intensive care, an increase of one.

Authorities say 74,334 doses of vaccine were administered in the past 24 hours. The province’s public health institute says 83.6 per cent of Quebec residents 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine and 63.4 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated.

The Health Department says that during a four-week period ending July 17, 64 per cent of people with new COVID-19 infections — and 70 per cent of those hospitalized due to the disease — were unvaccinated or had received their first dose less than 14 days earlier.

It says that 31 per cent of those with new infections had received their first dose of vaccine more than 14 days earlier, while five per cent had received a second dose more than seven days earlier.

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-with files from The Canadian Press

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