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Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. NHL players will not be competing in Beijing Winter Olympics due to COVID-19, reports say
  2. Quebec COVID-19 testing centres overwhelmed by fifth wave
  3. Women in science and medicine face vicious online hate for speaking publicly about COVID-19

In the past seven days, 62,521 cases were reported, up 107 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 116 deaths announced, down 18 per cent over the same period. At least 1,580 people are being treated in hospitals.

Canada’s inoculation rate is 21st among countries with a population of one million or more people.

Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.


Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and chartsTracking vaccine dosesLockdown rules and reopening


Photo of the day

People gesture as they wait in line to receive a COVID-19 test in Montreal, today.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press


Coronavirus in Canada

  • Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, several hospitals in Ontario are updating their visitor policy and will no longer allow inpatients who are staying fewer than seven days to have visitors. Meanwhile, Ontario is reporting 3,453 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths from the virus.
  • COVID-19 testing centres in Quebec are being overwhelmed by the fifth wave, with long lineups to get a test and delays in results as the Omicron variant pushes daily case counts to record levels. Quebec is reporting 5,043 new cases of COVID-19 today and eight additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.
  • British Columbia is tightening public-health restrictions and is ordering bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centres and dance studios to close as of 11:50 p.m. Wednesday. All seated events will be reduced to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Alberta has expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to anyone 18 years or older starting immediately – provided the second one was more than five months ago. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said there were 1,609 Omicron cases in the province – an increase of nearly 600 from the day before.
  • Saskatchewan is not expecting to tighten COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the holidays, despite dire projections by public health officials. The province is reporting 67 new cases today and 30 people in intensive care.

The National Hockey League will not be sending any players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, according to reports.

  • NHL players skipped the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but were to compete in the Winter Olympics in 2022 and 2026 as part of a collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the league and the NHLPA during the summer of 2020.
  • The agreement contained an opt-out clause, however, that said either party could change its mind if COVID-19 conditions worsened or if the schedule was disrupted owing to cancellations of games. As of Tuesday, 131 players were in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol and 50 games had been postponed.

Women in science: In a pandemic which has seen communities divided on issues such as masking, vaccinations and lockdowns, women in science and medicine who are prominent on social media have faced an unprecedented amount of online hate.

COVID-19 boosters: Provinces are ramping up COVID-19 boosters as they try to head off Omicron surge.

Toronto Raptors in COVID-19 protocol: Players Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn have been added to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols by the Toronto Raptors. There are now five Raptors in league protocols. Gary Trent Jr. was added to Toronto’s list on Monday, joining Pascal Siakam and Dalano Banton.


Coronavirus around the world


Coronavirus and business

The federal government is considering changes to its recently approved COVID-19 support programs to help small businesses that are struggling with the rising wave of Omicron and new provincial restrictions.

  • In provinces across the country, new public-health measures have been put in place as businesses were experiencing a holiday rush that owners hoped would make up for lost revenue. But unlike earlier in the pandemic, the main federal aid programs have ended for many businesses or decreased in the amount of support they provide.
  • Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office said the government is considering changes to the federal supports because of the threat of Omicron.

Also today: Canadian small-business owners are struggling once again as multiple provinces reinstate tough public-health restrictions.

And: Canadian dollar hits four-month low as Omicron variant concerns grow


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Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.

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