Today’s coronavirus news: Sidney Crosby tests positive for COVID-19; Ontario reporting
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Wednesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
1:30 p.m. Two doctor’s assistants in Amsterdam have been arrested on suspicion of selling fake COVID-19 vaccination registrations, police in the Dutch capital said Wednesday.
Vaccination registrations are needed to get a COVID-19 pass that people have to show to get into bars and restaurants in the Netherlands.
The announcement came a day after the Dutch government said it is extending the use of COVID-19 passes to more public places starting Saturday, amid sharply rising infection rates and hospital admissions.
1:15 p.m. The Pittsburgh Penguins placed star center Sidney Crosby and defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday after both tested positive.
Coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby is dealing with mild symptoms while Dumoulin remains asymptomatic. Crosby’s positive test came less than a week after he made his season debut, missing the opening six games while recovering from left wrist surgery.
Though the overwhelming majority of Penguins have been vaccinated, they’ve spent the early portion of the season wrangling with COVID-19. Crosby and Dumoulin are the seventh and eighth Penguins to go into the COVID-19 protocol since training camp opened in September.
Defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Chad Ruhwedel went into the protocol on Monday. Forwards Jeff Carter, Jack Guentzel and Zach Aston-Reese and defenseman Kris Letang also have tested positive.
1:05 p.m. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday’s game at Kansas City, according to published reports.
NFL Network was first to report the positive test, which neither the team nor Rodgers’ agent immediately confirmed.
Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, is the latest Packers player to test positive. Wide receivers Davante Adams, a 2020 All-Pro, and Allen Lazard missed last week’s victory at Arizona due to COVID-19 protocols. Lazard has since been activated.
12:45 p.m. Ontario is offering COVID-19 booster shots to another 2.75 million citizens at higher risk of infection, including those over 70 years of age, anyone who got two doses of AstraZeneca or one of Janssen and front-line health-care workers.
Bookings begin Saturday morning through the provincial appointment system, public health units, select pharmacies and through hospitals for their eligible employees, officials told a background briefing Wednesday in advance of an afternoon news conference by chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore.
The boosters will be with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and cannot be administered until six to eight months after finishing a primary course of vaccination.
12:20 p.m. Quebec is reporting 525 new cases of COVID-19, eight more deaths linked to the coronavirus and two fewer patients in hospital with the disease.
The latest figures come ahead of an update later today by Health Minister Christian Dubé on the government’s vaccine mandate for health workers.
Dubé delayed the deadline by one month, to Nov. 15, because he said suspending unvaccinated workers in October would have had devastating effects on the health-care system.
The minister said Tuesday there were still about 12,000 health-care workers who had not received a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
12:15 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19 as officials grapple with a cyberattack on the health-care network.
The province’s chief medical officer of health says the case announced today involves a person under the age of 20 who is a contact of a previously reported infection.
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says the cyberattack detected Saturday has taken out the online portals residents used to assess whether they needed COVID-19 tests and where they received results.
She says, however, that the attack has not impacted provincial lab capabilities to process swabs for test results.
Fitzgerald says all COVID-19 test scheduling must be done over the phone, adding that public health nurses will call anyone who is positive for the disease within 72 hours of their test.
12 p.m. More than a thousand people blocked several streets in the center of the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, protesting against COVID-19 vaccine certificates and state-imposed restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus.
The protesters, mostly women and young people, didn’t wear masks and held up signs reading “Say No to COVID Passports”, “Say No to COVID Genocide” in front of the Ukrainian parliament building in Kyiv.
The rally comes in response to restrictions that require teachers, government employees and other workers to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 8 or have their salaries suspended.
Last week, Ukrainian authorities also started requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results for people boarding airplanes, trains and long-distance buses.
11:30 a.m. AstraZeneca has asked Health Canada to review a new long-acting antibody combination that could be used to prevent symptomatic COVID-19.
If approved, it would be the first antibody protection of its kind in Canada.
The company says its clinical trials showed the antibody treatment was well tolerated and reduced the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by 77 per cent compared to a placebo.
AstraZeneca Canada says it could be a good option for vulnerable populations who aren’t able to develop a strong protective response from a vaccine.
The company says preliminary findings show the antibodies neutralize recent COVID-19 variants, including the Delta and Mu variants.
Health Canada has said all COVID-19 vaccine and drug submissions will be prioritized and reviewed on an expedited timeline.
10:30 a.m. Nova Scotia is extending the Nov. 30 deadline by eight weeks for public service workers in the province to show proof of vaccination.
Government spokeswoman Heather Fairbairn says employees were informed last week that any worker who is partially vaccinated by Nov. 15 and who intends to get a second dose will have another eight weeks to get one.
Workers who fail to get vaccinated risk being forced on unpaid administrative leave.
Fairbairn says employees with a single dose of vaccine may be subject to temporary health and safety measures before they are fully vaccinated.
The extension to the vaccine mandate also applies to employees in the health and education departments.
Ontario has administered 16,933 vaccine doses since its last daily update, with 22,552,851 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. the previous night.
According to the Star’s vaccine tracker, 11,510,553 people in Ontario have received at least one shot. That works out to approximately 88.3 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 77.4 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine.
10:10 a.m. Daily coronavirus cases and deaths in Russia remained at their highest numbers of the pandemic Wednesday as more regions announced extending existing restrictions in an effort to tame the country’s unrelenting surge of infections.
Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 40,443 new confirmed cases from a day earlier. It was the fifth time in seven days that the country reported more than 40,000 infections. The task force also reported a daily record of 1,189 COVID-19 deaths.
Russia is five days into a nationwide non-working period that the government introduced to curb the spread of the virus. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered many Russians to stay off work between Oct. 30 and Nov. 7. He authorized regional governments to extend the number of non-working days, if necessary.
10:05 a.m. Ontario’s medical regulator says it is turning to the courts in an effort to compel four physicians to co-operate with its investigations into their practices regarding COVID-19, including the issuance of medical exemptions for vaccines.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario says it has launched legal action with the Superior Court against Dr. Mary Elizabeth O’Connor, Dr. Mark Raymond Trozzi, Dr. Celeste Jean Thirlwell and Dr. Rochagne Kilian.
The regulator last week suspended Kilian’s medical licence, after previously barring her from issuing medical exemptions from COVID-19 vaccines.
Trozzi was also prohibited from issuing vaccine exemptions last month.
The regulator has previously urged doctors to be selective in issuing exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines, noting there are very few legitimate reasons to not get immunized against the virus.
10 a.m. The number of coronavirus cases has risen in Europe for the fifth consecutive week, making it the only world region where COVID-19 is still…