Canada

COVID-19: Ontario reports 218 new cases on Sunday, hospitalized cases down

The Ottawa City Hall COVID - 19 vaccination centre in late July.

Ontario reported 218 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two new deaths on Sunday, down from the 258 new cases reported on Saturday, which was the highest one-day total in July.

According to Public Health Ontario figures, there were 19 new cases in Eastern Ontario, including four in Ottawa; one case in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit; five cases in Hastings Prince Edward; two cases in Kingston Frontenac and Lennox; one case in Leeds, Grenvlle and Lanark and six cases in Renfrew.

Among the province hot spots, there were 40 new cases in Toronto, 33 in Peel Region, 23 in York region, 16 in Middlesex-London and 14 in Hamilton.

The numbers may change later in the day as public health units report their own numbers. Differences in reported numbers by public health units are owed to when infection data is pulled.

There are currently 78 people in the province on a ventilator, down 27 from Saturday, with 110 in ICU and 78 in ICU on 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.)

In total, there have now been 550,654 confirmed cases in Ontario since the pandemic began and 9,347 deaths.

New case numbers will not be reported on Monday because of the Civic Holiday.

Meanwhile, Ontario pharmacists say thousands of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are set to expire soon and they warn the supply could go to waste if people don’t show up to get a shot.

The CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association said some Moderna shots are set to expire in early August, and generally, supply that arrives in bulk must be used up within 30 days.

Justin Bates said a slowdown in Ontario’s vaccine rollout and the public’s preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech shot have made it difficult for pharmacists to use up the Moderna doses.

“It’s an awful situation for them (pharmacists) to be in,” Bates said in an interview. “They’ve done everything they can to make sure there’s no wastage, but yet they’re coming to that place where they may have to, or have already.”

Pharmacies are now ordering vaccine based on scheduled appointments to cut down on possible waste, said Bates, but they still need to use the supply they have on hand.

“The next couple of weeks (are) critical,” he said. “It’s complicated because you have any number of scenarios that could waste the vaccine.”

On top of the expiration issue, Bates said it’s also been challenging for pharmacists to use up the larger dose quantities that come in Moderna vials currently being supplied in Ontario.

Vials include enough vaccine for 14 shots and once a vial is punctured, all the vaccine must be used within 12 hours. If a patient cancels their appointment for a Moderna shot, it can’t be filled by the end of the day, said Bates.

Bates said his organization wants a provincewide program to help redirect doses at risk of being wasted to another site more likely to use them, though he noted that process would be complicated.

With files from the Canadian Press

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