After taking the holiday weekend off, a number of provincial and territorial governments are set to resume their COVID updates today. Health experts say recent record-breaking COVID-19 case counts in some provinces don’t provide a full picture, warning the real infection rate is likely much higher. Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube (DOO’-bay) says some health workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to stay on the job, saying the move is necessary to keep the health-care system operational. 


Starting tomorrow, long-term care homes in Ontario won’t accept general visitors or allow residents to leave for social reasons in order to avoid exposure to COVID-19. Ontario and other provinces have reported record-high daily case counts and health experts are warning the real infection rate is likely much higher. Yesterday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced some health workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to stay on the job. Manitoba and Ontario have said they are considering similar measures to avoid overwhelming their own health systems.  (6)


The World Health Organization says the number of COVID-19 cases recorded worldwide increased by 11 per cent last week compared with the previous week. The W-H-O says in a weekly report that the overall risk related to the advancing Omicron (OH’-mih-kron) variant remains very high. The U-N health agency says that there were nearly 4.99-million newly reported cases worldwide from December 20th to 26th, with Europe accounting for more than half that total. 


Environment Canada warns the bitter cold gripping the western provinces this week isn’t going away before the new year. All of Alberta, and most of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba and Ontario’s far north are under extreme cold warnings with wind chills plunging to between minus-40 and minus-50 degrees in some areas — and lasting until the end of the week. Much of southern and coastal B-C are dealing with Arctic outflow and wind chills of minus-20. While the chill is expected to moderate later today, a storm will move across B-C’s south coast tonight and dump five- to 10 centimetres of snow on Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and the Fraser Valley. 


The Broadway revival of “The Music Man” is being shuttered until the new year because actor Hugh Jackman has COVID-19. Jackman announced on social media that he tested positive, saying he has cold-like symptoms but is otherwise fine. Some Broadway shows have closed for several days because of virus cases. Others have folded completely, including “Thoughts of a Coloured Man,” “Waitress” and “Jagged Little Pill.”


The current champion on the popular T-V quiz show “Jeopardy!” continues her record-setting run. Oakland engineering manager Amy Schneider is on a 20-game winning streak. That ties the record for the most wins by a woman and is the fourth-longest streak of all time. So far Schneider has earned over 768-thousand dollars — the most money ever won by a female “Jeopardy!” contestant and fourth all-time.


The Walt Disney World theme park resort near Orlando, Florida has announced it will reopen its Typhoon Lagoon water park starting Sunday after an almost two-year hiatus. The water park closed at the pandemic’s start in March 2020. But while Disney World’s other theme parks reopened that summer with safety protocols, its water park stayed closed.