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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 6:35 p.m. British Columbia's health minister says the province administered 12,251 doses of vaccine yesterday, the highest number for a single day.

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

6:35 p.m.

British Columbia's health minister says the province administered 12,251 doses of vaccine yesterday, the highest number for a single day.

Adrian Dix says half the 12,251 shots were second doses, and that number is expected to climb as more vaccine becomes available.

The province recorded 508 new COVID-19 cases, and Dix says that is still too high, reminding residents to adhere to pandemic measures.

Six more deaths have been reported in the province, for a total of 1,327 fatalities.


3:15 p.m.

The Alberta government says Phase 2 of its vaccine program will begin in April.

Premier Jason Kenney says the second phase will be done in four groups and, by the end, anyone over 50, anyone with high-risk health conditions and First Nations and Métis people aged 35 and older will be vaccinated.

Kenney says that’s almost 1.8 million people.

Kenney says they can’t announce any details beyond Phase 2 because the vaccine supply is too unstable.


2:50 p.m.

Health officials are reporting 146 new cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.

Three residents aged 50 and older have also died from the virus.

The Ministry of Health says 172 people are in hospital, with 19 in intensive care.

To date, the province says it has given around 53,000 doses of vaccine to vulnerable residents like those in long-term care and people in remote northern communities.

The Opposition NDP says Premier Scott Moe's government needs to come out with a plan on how to deal with the threat of more contagious COVID-19 variants.


2:45 p.m.

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control says new preliminary data shows that a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine reduces the risk of the virus by 80 per cent within two to three weeks of receiving the shot.

The agency says in a statement that researchers came to the conclusion after analyzing COVID-19 cases in long-term care homes between December 2020 and February 2021.

B.C. has administered more than 180,000 doses of vaccine as of Thursday.


1:40 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting 92 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths. 

However, two cases have been removed from the province's total due to a data error and one death recorded in December has been removed after further investigation determined it was not due to the novel coronavirus. 

Health officials also say they have found three more cases of the variant first found in the United Kingdom, and all three are related to international travel and have recovered.


1:35 p.m.

A stay-at-home order will remain in place for the Ontario COVID-19 hot spots of Toronto and Peel Region, as well as the North Bay area, for at least two more weeks. 

Health Minister Christine Elliott says it was a difficult but necessary decision to keep the areas under tight public health measures. 

Top health officials in Toronto and Peel had called for the order to stay in place, saying loosening measures too soon would lead to more illness and death. 

The province says a stay-home order will lift for York Region as it moves to the second-strictest category of Ontario's tiered pandemic restrictions framework next week.

The stay-home order was lifted for the majority of the province earlier this week.


1:25 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today.

Officials say one case was identified in the eastern part of the province and is related to travel outside the Atlantic region, while the other is in the region that includes Halifax and involves a close contact of a previously reported case.

Mobile testing units will be dispatched to a community centre north of Halifax for families and staff of Beaver Bank-Monarch Drive Elementary School, after a case was recently tied to the school.

The province has 15 active reported infections.


1 p.m.

Canada's vaccination efforts hit its first milestone Friday, passing one million people getting at least one dose.

As of 1 p.m. EST, provinces reported vaccinating 1,007,578 people, according to an online vaccine tracker run by Noah Little, a student at the University of Saskatchewan.

Deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech soared this week, with more than 403,000 doses arriving, and provinces have injected more than 50,000 doses in the last 36 hours alone.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says provinces are ready to inject more than 1.5 million doses in the next three weeks.


1 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting six new cases of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say five cases are in the Edmundston region and one case is in the Miramichi area.

The number of active reported cases in the province is 105, and five patients are in hospital with the disease, including one in intensive care.

New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,417 COVID-19 infections and 24 deaths linked to the pandemic.


12:45 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 60 new cases of COVID-19 and nine presumptive cases.

Health officials say 34 of the cases reported today were previously listed as presumptive.

The province has 863 active reported infections.

It has reported a total of four deaths linked to the virus.


12:15 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning that COVID-19 variants could fuel a third wave worse than the first two unless strong public health measures continue.

Trudeau notes that new cases and hospitalizations are down, but that more contagious mutations of the virus represent a real threat to Canadians.

New federal forecasts project that variants could drive a surge of 20,000 new cases per day by mid-March if public health restrictions are relaxed further.


11 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 800 new cases of COVID-19 today and 14 more deaths linked to the virus, including one within the past 24 hours.

Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by 24, to 723, and 127 people were in intensive care, a drop of two.

The province says 9,202 doses of vaccine were administered yesterday, for a total of 311,651.


10:30 a.m.

Ontario has added 1,150 new cases of COVID-19 to its tally today. 

It also counted 47 more deaths linked to the virus. 

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the hot spots of Toronto, Peel and York Region are still seeing the most cases. 

Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce today whether Toronto and Peel will remain under a stay-at-home order as local officials have requested. 


10 a.m.

New federal forecasts project that COVID-19 variants could fuel a surge of 20,000 new cases per day by mid-March if public health restrictions are relaxed further.

The Public Health Agency of Canada released modelling today suggesting that while infections continue to decline nationally, the spread of virus mutations threatens to reverse that progress. 

Canada's chief public health officer says there are currently fewer than 33,000 active cases in Canada, a 60 per cent drop compared to a month ago.

But with COVID-19 variants detected in all 10 provinces, Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada may not be able to avoid a rapid acceleration of the epidemic without continued vigilance.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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