Edmund Scott Kopetz, MD, PhD, FACP, discusses the current state of circulating tumor DNA testing in colorectal cancer.
Edmund Scott Kopetz, MD, PhD, FACP, professor, Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the current state of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) testing in colorectal cancer (CRC).
In the United States, ctDNA assays are approved for reimbursement by many insurance companies, including Medicare, Kopetz says. As a result, ctDNA testing is being routinely performed for patients with CRC. However, no standard of care has been established for patients who are ctDNA positive. Therefore, patients who have ctDNA-positive CRC should seek out clinical trials evaluating novel therapeutics, Kopetz explains.
Ultimately, ctDNA testing is currently prognostic but is not able to be utilized to inform treatment decisions, Kopetz says. However, this is an active area of investigation, and efforts are being made by advocacy groups to compile lists of resources available to support patients with ctDNA-positive CRC during this transitional time in oncology. One such resource is crcmrd.com, which helps patients understand their results and match them to available clinical trials, Kopetz concludes.
All four people killed in a shooting in Richmond, B.C., are adult members of the same family, homicide investigators said in an update Thursday.
Investigators said they are not seeking a suspect, as the person or persons responsible for the killings were among those found at the scene on Tuesday. Police believe all four people died Monday night.
Authorities have yet to release identities of the victims, saying next-of-kin notifications are ongoing. They did confirm, however, that there were two men and two women killed.
“This is a tragic loss of life, but we are able to confirm the community is not at risk,” Sgt. David Lee said Thursday.
Lee said it doesn’t appear the shooting was related to intimate-partner violence, nor does it appear to be connected to ongoing gang conflict in the Lower Mainland.
One of the victims had access to a firearm and had a valid licence for it, Lee said.
Since the shooting was discovered, members of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have been scouring the property and the field behind it with a police dog.
The median in front of the home on Garden City Road has also been extensively searched and remained behind police tape Thursday morning.
A neighbour told CTV News it was the daughter of the building’s owner who called the police.
“I asked her what happened and she said well there was a loud bang in the neighborhood the previous night so I asked and said bullet or something? And she said she doesn’t know she’s suspecting,” said Cornelius Kiptum, who lives next door.
“I cannot feel threatened, I only feel for that loss. It’s devastating, but then it doesn’t make the neighbourhood unsafe.”
Anyone with information is asked to call homicide investigators at 1-877-551-4448.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Two internal investigations concluded that a former Louisville police detective pressured multiple confidential informants into performing sexual acts on him and lied about it to investigators — and that his actions broke the law.
But two years after the investigations began, Brian Bailey has not been criminally charged. The commonwealth’s attorney’s office says it’s still deciding whether to charge Bailey, now more than seven months since it received the bulk of the evidence from the Louisville Metro Police Department’s criminal investigation.
Police and court records show one LMPD investigator began introducing doubt that Bailey would face charges in the same report where police concluded he broke the law.
Sgt. Andrew Meyer of the LMPD Professional Standards Unit wrote in a July 8 investigative summary that Bailey could have been charged with, at least, official misconduct and prostitution, both misdemeanors.
Police have an alleged victim’s shirt with Bailey’s semen on it, sexually explicit text messages he sent, proof he coerced informants into having oral sex with him in his police car and sexual acts in his office. Police also confirmed Bailey lied in sworn testimony.
Meyer determined that “these acts have destroyed public respect and confidence and they have brought discredit upon the department and upon Detective Bailey as a member of the department.”
But he also wrote that police were “unable” to charge Bailey because the one-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor charges ran out during the LMPD’s two-year investigation.
Two investigative unit reviews of Bailey — the Public Integrity Unit, which looks at criminal matters; and PSU, which determines if an officer violated internal policies — both concluded Bailey broke the law.
Regardless of the evidence and police conclusions, Bailey was allowed to remain with the department until his resignation in June.
The criminal investigation of Bailey began nearly two years ago, in February 2020. But he was first investigated and cleared for the same offense in 2016, when a woman serving as his confidential informant accused him of sexual assault.
The woman accused Bailey of touching her breast and sending her pictures of his penis from his work cellphone, but police never interviewed Bailey or looked at his phone.
Indeed, investigators waited eight months before even asking Bailey to talk about her claims. When he refused, they closed the case, saying the allegations were “unfounded.”
In addition, LMPD didn’t open an internal investigation with its Professional Standards Unit, which is typical LMPD practice to do after a criminal probe is complete to look for violations of police procedure.
It would take another four years — and three more women accusing Bailey of sexual assault — before investigators talked with him. It took another year before police subpoenaed Bailey’s phones.
By then, three women had filed lawsuits against Bailey; his partner Jared Williams, who resigned from the department in January 2021; other officers involved in the 2016 investigation; and the city, among others.
An investigator in the criminal case said Bailey’s “cell phones had been deleted,” according to records in the civil suits.
In an August 25 deposition, LMPD Chief Erika Shields criticized the investigations into Bailey, saying that police should have obtained the texts the detective sent in 2016. She said a more thorough investigation at the time would have likely led to Bailey’s resignation or firing.
“From a Monday morning quarterback, it looks like that there was more that could have been done,” she said.
WDRB News and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting first documented Bailey’s pattern of questionable warrants and accusations of sexual misconduct with confidential informants in February 2021 as part of the news organizations’ ongoing examination of LMPD search warrants in the wake of the 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Before he was taken off the streets, Bailey was notorious for search warrants based on information provided by confidential informants.
Bailey obtained more residential search warrants than any other LMPD officer, according to an analysis by KyCIR and WDRB of publicly available warrants. He obtained more search warrants between January 2019 and June 2020 than the next two officers combined.
All but one of Bailey’s warrants reviewed by KyCIR and WDRB was based, at least in part, on the word of confidential informants.
Attorneys raised flags about Bailey’s use of confidential informants, accusing him in court of relying on “boilerplate” affidavits and, in some cases, making up information.
Bailey’s attorney, James McKiernan, declined to comment. An LMPD spokesperson said the department would not comment while the case is still pending.
Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas B. Wine said his office is still trying to determine if criminal charges are warranted against Bailey.
Even though the investigative report centered on possible misdemeanors, Sgt. Omar Lee, who investigated Bailey to determine if he committed a crime, testified in a civil deposition in September that a felony charge of sodomy is possible as felony cases have no statute of limitations.
Kentucky’s sodomy law includes forcible oral sex, which two women accused Bailey of and the standards investigation concluded likely occurred.
Whether Lee’s investigation addressed the possibility of charging Bailey with a felony isn’t clear, because his report isn’t in the civil court record.
Attorney Vince Johnson, who represents two of the three women who have sued Bailey and the city, filed a motion in court Tuesday asking a judge to force the city to turn over Lee’s investigation, including any recommendations concerning criminal charges.
Johnson wrote that prosecutors have had the case for several months but Bailey has not been charged, and attempts to communicate with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office have failed.
“Whether Bailey will face criminal responsibility for his actions is of significant interest to the (women in the lawsuits) and to the entire community,” he wrote.
Investigation: Bailey targeted women addicted to drugs
Four women have publicly accused Bailey of sending explicit photos and forcing them to engage in sexual acts while facing criminal charges.
The complaints in the lawsuits are similar: Bailey forced women facing charges to become confidential informants and then compelled them to perform sexual acts on him under threat of criminal prosecution.
In his standards investigation, Meyer concluded that Bailey targeted low-income women who were addicted to drugs and “would be more willing to perform sexual acts than go to jail,” according to his investigative summary.
“There are similarities in methodology among the allegations,” said Meyer. “These unique characteristics surface throughout Detective Bailey’s conduct toward each of these individuals. The methodology is regarding this apparent method of selection, coercion technique, and specific phrasing used to initiate sexual encounters.”
In text messages to the women, he would refer to himself as “Daddy,” and often asked the women, “Why you scared?” if they were hesitant.
Police have text messages from two of the four women.
One of the women, whose name was redacted, said Bailey got her out of trouble with police and prosecutors about ten times when she provided him with sexual favors.
The woman “believed any time she had been arrested, Detective Bailey called the prosecutor and told them she is working on a ‘big case’ for him, and this got her out of trouble,” Meyer wrote. “There was no big case.”
Other times, she would be pulled over by an officer and call Bailey “and he would call whoever had her stopped and they would let her go,” Meyer wrote.
Screenshots turned over to attorneys and included in court records from the woman involved in the 2016 case show someone she has listed in her phone as “BB” making sexually suggestive remarks and asking to come to her home. She provided the phone number to attorneys for the city and the alleged victims.
One woman told Meyer that Bailey would let her use drugs before performing a sex act on him in his vehicle.
Meyer also reviewed evidence from the 2016 investigation, where the woman turned over text messages Bailey had sent her, including one that said “Please mommy make daddy proud.”
In the deposition, the woman claims Bailey sexually abused her in his police cruiser and his office, where she describes seeing pictures of his family.
She said he texted her every day and she went along with it because he was “preventing me from becoming a felon.”
She claims he told her, “You help me and I’ll help you. You owe me.”
Shields raises concerns about investigation
Shields, who took over as chief in January 2021, initiated an investigation into whether Bailey violated departmental policies last June, shortly after the investigators in the criminal probe obtained DNA evidence on an alleged victim’s t-shirt that proved he had a sexual relationship with her.
At the very least, Shields said in her deposition, the department could discipline Bailey for untruthfulness, as he said in sworn testimony that he did not have a relationship with that informant.
Bailey resigned that same month. In a recent deposition, Bailey asserted his right to not incriminate himself 125 times in refusing to answer questions.
Bailey did talk to LMPD investigator Lee in May 2020, providing an initial 10-minute statement, but asked for an attorney once the investigator told him about allegations against him.
“He gave me ten minutes and locked himself into a story,” Lee said in his deposition.
Bailey’s statement is not available in court records.
Shields acknowledged she was frustrated with how long the second investigation of Bailey has taken, noting that waiting for the Kentucky State Police to finish the DNA testing put the investigation on a “two-year timeline, and that was not reasonable.”
Instead, Shields said she had investigators send the shirt to a private lab to be tested.
“Once the DNA came back and it showed that, in fact, he had in some shape or form had a relationship with this woman, I knew at that point, if nothing else, he – he lied in his statement,” she said.
But both Shields and Lee also criticized Meyer’s investigation and conclusions in their testimony.
Shields said Meyer has “established himself as somebody who jumps to conclusions.”
While saying she “absolutely” has concerns with Bailey’s actions, she was “not going to give Andrew Meyer that much weight.
“I just can’t,” Shields said.
Meyer investigated the officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting in 2020 and concluded they should not have returned gunfire because “circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot.”
He concluded that officers who fired their weapons that night violated LMPD’s use-of-force policy.
Commanders disagreed with Meyer’s findings and overruled them.
Lee defended his criminal investigation of Bailey — and how long it took — saying he didn’t believe he had enough evidence to get a search warrant for Bailey’s phones until the Kentucky State Police finished testing the DNA evidence.
While two of the three women in the lawsuits talked with Lee, one did not, he said, so he did not investigate the claims she made.
And the woman who claimed she had Bailey’s DNA on a t-shirt would not provide her phone as she believed police would find proof she was involved in illegal activity and use it against her, he said.
Asked if he believed Bailey committed crimes against both women involved in his investigation, Lee said, “I believe so, yes sir.”
Shields said Meyer and Lee should have done more to collaborate and obtain key evidence.
While the units generally keep their work separate to avoid compromising criminal investigations, Shields said the initial statements gathered by each unit should be shared.
Asked if she had any doubts that Bailey had committed crimes, she said, “Obviously I have serious concern.”
And if the investigation in 2016 had been more thorough, Shields said, it might have prevented further victims — because it “would definitely have increased the likelihood that he would have resigned.”
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.
Produced through a collaboration between WDRB News and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit newsroom created by Louisville Public Media.
Below is a summary of US family history collections that have been released or updated by the major genealogy databases in the last five weeks. (The previous summary list was published on 10 December see blogpost).
My regular summaries are designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors emigrated, temporarily or permanently, to the United States.
By default, they should also be useful to anyone carrying out research in the US, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.
The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in each new record set, if provided by the database.
Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update, if a number has been clearly noted by the supplier. I do not include updates of fewer than 1,000 records.
Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.
Ontario reported drops in both overall hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care for COVID-19 patients on Thursday, ahead of a scheduled update from the province’s chief medical officer of health.
Dr. Kieran Moore’s news conference, set for 3 p.m. ET, comes one week after the provincial government announced its plan to gradually lift public health measures.
It’s also Moore’s last regularly scheduled public appearance before restrictions are set to ease on Monday.
You’ll be able to watch the update live in this story.
The Ministry of Health said this morning that, as of yesterday, there were 3,645 people with COVID-19 in hospitals. That’s down from 4,016 the day before and 4,061 at the same time last week.
About 56 per cent of those patients were admitted for COVID-related illnesses while 44 per cent were already in hospital when they tested positive for the virus, according to the ministry.
There were 599 patients with COVID-19 who required intensive care, a second straight day the overall number has fallen. It’s down from 608 the day before but up slightly from the same time last week.
Roughly 82 per cent of the people with COVID-19 in ICUs were admitted for reasons directly related to the virus.
The health ministry also reported another 70 deaths of people with the virus, bringing the official toll to 11,230.
More Ontarians with COVID-19 have died this month than in any other month since last January. January 2022 is currently on track to be among the deadliest months of the entire pandemic in the province, with 1,036 deaths confirmed thus far.
Meanwhile, Ontario is expected to tweak some reopening rules later today to allow moviegoers to eat popcorn and other snacks in theatres next week.
Premier Doug Ford announced last week that with public health indicators starting to show signs of improvement, some COVID-19 restrictions will be eased starting Monday.
Indoor social gathering limits are set to increase from five to 10, and restaurants will be able to reopen their dining rooms at 50 per cent capacity.
Theatres will also be able to reopen, and “spectator areas” such as arenas and concert venues will be able to welcome back up to 500 guests, with smaller venues limited to half capacity.
Initially, guests at movie theatres weren’t going to be allowed to consume food or beverages until the next phase of restrictions easing, currently set for Feb. 21.
Now a government source says that when regulations are filed later today, they will allow people to eat and drink in theatres when they reopen on Monday.
Escobar is still entitled to challenge his conviction in federal court.
A Travis County jury in 2011 convicted Escobar of capital murder after hearing testimony that, in May 2009, 17-year-old Bianca Maldonado was stabbed 46 times, beaten and sexually assaulted before dying of blood loss at her Decker Lane apartment, where Escobar also lived. The slain LBJ High School student was alone with her 1-year-old son, who was injured but survived.
When Escobar’s girlfriend called his cellphone early that morning, she could hear a woman screaming repeatedly, she testified at his trial. Escobar later arrived at his mother’s house with a bloody shirt, according to his arrest affidavit.
As part of the appeal, experts who reexamined the evidence years after the trial concluded that Maldonado’s DNA was found on Escobar’s shoes and in his car.
Prosecutors also presented other evidence to support Escobar’s conviction, including a fingerprint, cellphone evidence, a shoe print, and testimony from Escobar’s girlfriend, the appeals court pointed out.
Escobar and his attorneys “failed to show that the general deficiencies discovered in the (state) audit specifically affected the DNA results in his particular case,” the appeals court wrote.
The Austin Police Department in 2017 surrendered the lab to state control after a state audit found that the lab was following a procedure that was not scientifically sound. The Texas Department of Public Safety will continue operating the lab through August 2023, and the Austin City Council last year moved $12 million out of Police Department’s budget to create an independent forensics lab in the future.
Escobar has maintained his innocence from the beginning, said his attorney, Benjamin Wolff, director of the state’s Office of Capital and Forensic Writs.
“We are disappointed that the Court of Criminal Appeals would uphold the use of the junk science used to convict Mr. Escobar,” Wolff said. “No conviction, let alone a death sentence, should be based on scientifically unreliable evidence. Because that is how innocent people get convicted.”
Nine months before Escobar’s trial, the Austin police DNA lab requested that outside experts conduct additional testing on a stain on a shirt and a stain on a doorknob lock. Three days after the jury had already convicted Escobar, the analyst reported that she was unable to find any DNA profiles from the stain.
However, Escobar’s attorneys did not receive a copy of this report until 2017.
Wahlberg wrote in his December 2020 recommendation that “counsel for Mr. Escobar could have utilized the report as mitigating evidence in the punishment phase of Mr. Escobar’s trial, as well as moving for mistrial and/or filing a motion for new trial based on new evidence,” Wahlberg wrote.
The appeals court disagreed with Wahlberg in its order.
In that case, the court agreed with Turner’s lawyers, who contended that “inconclusive and unreliable DNA evidence was relied upon to secure his plea.”
The Forensic Project, an independent team of attorneys appointed by Travis County, is still reviewing about 500 requests from defendants to appeal their cases over DNA evidence analyzed at the Austin police lab. The project is reviewing all types of charges, including sexual assault and murder.
Of those 500, the Forensic Project has said that five to 10 are probably headed to litigation soon, but it declined to say which cases or what kinds of charges the group would be challenging.
The Forensic Project did not handle Escobar’s case because it was a death penalty case.
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell says the effects of the crash will be minor and it is possible similar impacts have taken place unnoticed.
A chunk of a SpaceX rocket that blasted off seven years ago and was abandoned in space after completing its mission will crash into the Moon in March, experts say.
The rocket was deployed in 2015 to put into orbit a NASA satellite called the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR).
Since then, the second stage of the rocket, or booster, has been floating in what mathematicians call a chaotic orbit, astronomer Bill Gray said on Wednesday.
It was Gray who calculated the space junk’s new collision course with the Moon. The booster passed quite close to the Moon in January in a rendezvous that altered its orbit, said Gray.
He is behind Project Pluto, software that allows scientists to calculate the trajectory of asteroids and other objects in space and is used in NASA-financed space observation programs.
A week after the rocket stage whizzed close to the Moon, Gray observed it again and concluded it would crash into the Moon’s dark side on March 4 at more than 9,000km/h (5,500 mph).
Gray appealed to the amateur astronomer community to join him in observing the booster, and his conclusion was confirmed.
The exact time and location of impact may change slightly from his forecast but there is widespread agreement that there will be a collision on the Moon that day.
“I’ve been tracking junk of this sort for about 15 years. And this is the first unintentional lunar impact that we’ve had,” Gray said.
‘Time to start regulating’
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell said, however, the effects of the collision will be minor, adding it is possible similar impacts have taken place unnoticed.
“There are at least 50 objects that were left in deep Earth orbit in the 60s, 70s and 80s that were just abandoned there. We didn’t track them,” he said.
“Now we’re picking up a couple of them … but a lot of them we’re not finding and so they’re not there any more,” he added. “Probably at least a few of them hit the moon accidentally and we just didn’t notice.”
The impact of the chunk of SpaceX rocket, which weighs four tonnes, on the Moon will not be visible from Earth in realtime.
But it will leave a crater that scientists will be able to observe with spacecraft and satellites such as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter or India’s Chandrayaan-2, and thus learn more about the geology of the Moon.
Spacecraft have been intentionally crashed into the Moon before for scientific purposes, such as during the Apollo missions to test seismometers.
In 2009, NASA sent a rocket stage hurling into the Moon near its south pole to look for water.
But most rockets do not go so far from Earth. SpaceX brings its rocket boosters back through the Earth’s atmosphere so they disintegrate over the ocean. The first stage is recovered and reused.
Gray said there could be more unintentional crashes into the Moon in the future as the US and Chinese space programmes, in particular, leave more junk in orbit.
The US, together with international partners, is already planning a space station to orbit the Moon.
McDowell noted these events “start to be problematic when there’s a lot more traffic”.
“It’s actually no one’s job to keep track of the junk that we leave out in deep earth orbit,” he said. “I think now’s the time to start regulating it.”
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Elon Musk’s company is currently developing a lunar lander that should allow NASA to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2025 at the earliest.
Othram, a forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement, is pleased to announce the appointment of Brendan Belair as Chief Strategy Officer. In addition to serving on the executive team, Mr. Belair will lead Othram’s state and federal government advocacy engagements.
Mr. Belair, an attorney and seventeen-year Capitol Hill and political campaign veteran, most recently served as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee. Mr. Belair was instrumental in the passage of historic criminal justice reform efforts including The First Step Act and has unparalleled experience working with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and key law enforcement stakeholders. While at the Judiciary Committee, he led efforts to conduct oversight of the billions of dollars that the DOJ spends every year partnering with local law enforcement.
“Othram’s technology represents the biggest advancement in forensic DNA testing in decades,” said Brendan Belair. “I’m thrilled to join the Othram team and lead advocacy and partnership efforts to advance justice and public safety and bring closure to the families of victims. While most in the technology community are running from law enforcement, Othram is leaning in, and I’m proud to join them at this pivotal time.”
Mr. Belair is the latest appointment to Othram’s executive team following the appointments of Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Singer, formerly the Vice President of Operations Sales and Global Marketing at BODE Technology and Chief Business Development Officer Kristen Mittelman.
“Othram has eliminated scientific and technological barriers to solving previously unsolvable sex assaults and homicides,” said Othram CEO David Mittelman. “With the support of state and federal agencies, we are poised to bring this technology to all cases so that justice can be accessible for all victims of violent crimes.”
Othram is the world’s only laboratory purpose-built to combine genome sequencing with advanced human identification applications. The laboratory, based in The Woodlands, Texas, is also the only facility in the United States or Canada offering end-to-end, in-house processing from forensic evidence to investigative leads. Over the last three years, this technology has helped law enforcement crack hundreds of cases at the local, state, and federal level, many of which had been unsolved for decades.
If you’ve been enjoying (or even struggling with) PRONI’s recently released Belfast Workhouse Admissions Indexes, here’s the online workshop to help you get the best out of this collection.
PRONI will officially launch the Register Indexes and present the workshop on Thursday 27 January at 1pm; Janet Hancock, Jayne Hutchinson and Joy Carey will outline the importance of the Board of Guardian archive and navigate users through the search facility.
The one-hour workshop will be on zoom. It is free, but you need to register your place. As a brand-new release of records that have never been online before, I imagine the workshop will be over-subscribed, so book early to guarantee your place.
Hospitals in New Brunswick are feeling the strain of the Omicron wave, with four hospitals at or near capacity.
“Our hospitals are caring for higher volumes of COVID-positive inpatients than at any other point in the pandemic,” a statement from the Horizon Health network said Tuesday.
The hospital network said that the number of people in hospital combined with staff shortages is having an impact on how it delivers care. The province shifted to emergency and urgent hospital care only at the end of 2021 as it faced a mounting Omicron wave.
According to the provincial update on Tuesday, a total of 138 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 — a pandemic high in the province — including 11 in intensive care. The province also reported three additional deaths and 350 additional lab-confirmed cases.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement Tuesday that while hospitalizations are rising, they are trending below the province’s projections.
“The data indicates that New Brunswickers have reduced their contacts by about 30 per cent,” she said in a statement. “This has made a tremendous difference to our acute care system, which has been heavily impacted by employees who are absent due to Omicron and the increasing number of patients.”
Tight restrictions are still in place in the Atlantic province, and students are expected to continue with remote learning until Jan. 31.
In Nova Scotia, health officials on Tuesday said 92 people were in the province’s designated COVID-19 units, including 15 people in intensive care. The provincial update showed a total of 304 people in hospital with COVID-19, including cases where people contracted the virus while in hospital. The province also reported five additional deaths and 492 additional lab-confirmed cases.
Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday said COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 20, with five people in critical care. The province, which sent students back to in-person learning Tuesday, also reported an additional 296 lab-confirmed cases.
Prince Edward Island health officials on Tuesday reported a ninth COVID-19-related death and 275 additional lab-confirmed cases. Health officials in the province said there were 10 people in hospital being treated for COVID-19 — including two in ICU. There were two others in hospital with COVID-19 being treated for other illnesses, the province said.
-From CBC News, last updated at 10:05 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
WATCH | Quebec premier talks about living with COVID-19 long-term and structural issues in the health-care system:
Living with COVID-19 long-term means accepting hospitalizations and deaths, says Quebec Premier François Legault. 1:22
With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.
For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.
You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.
In Central Canada, Ontario’s health minister on Wednesday reported a total of 4,016 hospitalizations, with 608 people in intensive care. The province, which saw 5,368 new lab-confirmed cases, also reported 89 additional deaths — though Christine Elliott’s office noted that the deaths occurred over the past 21 days.
608 people are in ICU with <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>. 83% of patients admitted to the ICU were admitted for COVID-19 and 17% were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for COVID-19.<br><br>There are 5,368 new cases of COVID-19.
Quebec on Wednesday reported 3,270 hospitalizations, with 252 people in intensive care. The province reported 73 additional deaths and 4,150 new lab-confirmed cases, according to the COVID-19 situation report posted daily by health officials.
The update comes a day afterPremier François Legault said that the province will ease some COVID-19 restrictions in the weeks ahead. The initial shift, which is set for Jan. 31, will allow restaurants to open dining rooms with limited capacity. Some sports will return, with further easing expected in early February.
Quebec’s health system, however, is still feeling the strain, Legault said, noting that it will take time to build the capacity the province needs.
Across the North, Nunavut on Wednesday reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. Health officials in the Northwest Territories and Yukon had not yet provided updated information for the day.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba on Tuesday reported a total of 729 COVID-19 hospitalizations — another pandemic high. Of those, 49 people were receiving intensive care. Health officials also reported six additional deaths and 637 additional lab-confirmed cases.
In Saskatchewan, the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 291, with 33 people in the province’s intensive care units. The province also reported two additional deaths and 1,049 lab-confirmed cases.
Alberta on Tuesday said hospitalizations stood at 1,377 — a pandemic high — with 111 people in intensive care. The province also reported 13 additional deaths and 2,772 additional cases.
“Our hospitals are under strain, especially in the larger urban centres,” said Jason Copping, the province’s health minister. “Staff are tired, not just from the current wave of cases, but from five waves over two years.”
Copping said there are signs Omicron transmission may be slowing, but he had cautious words about the weeks ahead, saying they will be the “toughest yet for many Albertans.”
In British Columbia, total COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 985, health officials said Tuesday, with 144 in intensive care units. The province also reported one additional death and 1,446 additional lab-confirmed cases.
People in the province will need to bring their vaccine card with them through to the end of June if they want to access indoor spaces, restaurants or most events, says the provincial health officer. Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday the vaccine card is specifically designed to mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19, allowing certain businesses and activities to remain open.
“As we move through this period, it will, I expect, no longer be necessary,” Henry told a news conference. “But right now, it is one of those important tools that we have.”
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:05 p.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Wednesday afternoon, more than 359.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.6 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Australian navy’s largest ship docked at disaster-stricken Tonga on Wednesday and was allowed to unload humanitarian supplies in the South Pacific nation despite crew members being infected with COVID-19, officials said.
Nearly two-dozen sailors aboard HMAS Adelaide were reported infected on Tuesday, raising fears the mission could bring the coronavirus to the small archipelago devastated by an undersea volcanic eruption and a tsunami on Jan. 15. Supplies were to be delivered without contact with the local population to avoid infections, the Australian government said in a statement.
Since the pandemic began, Tonga has reported just a single case of COVID-19 and has avoided any outbreaks. It’s one of the few countries in the world currently completely virus free. About 61 per cent of Tongans are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
South Korea’s daily new cases exceeded 13,000 for the first time, as the government seeks to revise its anti-virus response scheme to focus on Omicron.
In Europe, Austria’s lockdown for people not fully vaccinated will end on Monday because the pressure on hospitals has eased, the government said.
Sweden will extend several restrictions for another two weeks, while neighbouring Denmark was expected to announce that it no longer considers COVID-19 as “a socially critical disease” as of next month and will remove most restrictions.
Sweden’s Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren said the country was seeing “an extremely record-high spread of infection,” so the existing measures “need to remain in place for another two weeks.” It was not immediately clear what restrictions will end in Denmark. But a letter from the health minister to lawmakers said the “categorization of COVID-19 as a socially critical disease will be abolished as of Feb. 1.”
Russia, meanwhile, has expanded a domestically developed coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12-17 to include more regions, amid the country’s biggest infection surge yet due to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
In Africa, Uganda wants to curb its borrowing and boost exports in sectors such as meat and dairy as the East African country lifts restrictions triggered by the pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni and government officials told Reuters.
In South Africa, health officials on Tuesday reported 3,197 new cases of COVID-19 and 132 additional deaths.
In the Middle East, Kuwait on Tuesday reported more than 5,742 additional cases and one additional death.
In the Americas, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has officially withdrawn a rule that would have required workers at big companies to get vaccinated or face regular COVID-19 testing requirements.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed the withdrawal Tuesday, but the agency said it still strongly encourages workers to get vaccinated.
In early November, OSHA announced a vaccine-or-test mandate for companies with at least 100 employees. The rule — which would have impacted more than 80 million U.S. workers — was originally set to go into effect on Jan. 4.
But numerous states and business groups challenged the mandate in court. On Jan. 13, the Supreme Court halted the plan. In a 6-3 ruling, the court’s conservative majority concluded that OSHA had overstepped its authority.
The justices left in place a vaccine mandate for health-care providers who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. That rule affects 10.4 million workers.
-From Reuters, CBC News and The Associated Press, last updated at 12:05 p.m. ET