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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): 6:40 p.m. Ontario has issued a pair of emergency orders to help it address a hospital capacity crunch, including a directive allowing patient transfers without consent.

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

6:40 p.m.

Ontario has issued a pair of emergency orders to help it address a hospital capacity crunch, including a directive allowing patient transfers without consent.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says a recent spike in COVID-19 patients arriving at hospitals prompted the orders, which are effective immediately.

Elliott says patients will only be transferred to an alternate site when a hospital experiences "a major surge event."

The province has been transferring patients between hospitals for months to accommodate a growing number of COVID-19 cases, but those transfers were done with the patient's permission.

The second emergency order issued today allows the province to redeploy dozens of workers from home-care organizations and Ontario Health - the body that oversees the health system - to hospitals during a surge. 

The orders come as Ontario hospitals are preparing to start ramping down elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures next week to ensure they have the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.


6:30 p.m.

Health officials in Alberta are reporting 1,521 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and two new deaths.

Since the pandemic started last year, a total of 2,007 people have died due to the illness.

Today’s case numbers are the highest single-day tally since December.

The province says 674 new infections from the more contagious variants of concern have been detected.

It says variants make up 45.5 per cent of the 13,059 active cases in Alberta.

There are 333 people in hospital with the virus and 83 of them are in intensive care.


6:15 p.m.

COVID-19 case numbers continue to soar in British Columbia with 1,262 new cases reported today, just shy of yesterday's record-setting total of 1,293 new cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say there are 9,574 active cases in the province, with 332 people in hospital, 102 of whom are in critical care.

The province has surpassed the one-million mark for vaccinations with 1,025,019 shots administered in B.C., most of which are first doses.

The health officials say there are 4,111 cases that are confirmed variants of concern, including 3,082 of the strain first identified in the U.K. and 974 of the variant first detected in Brazil. 


5 p.m.

Health officials in Saskatchewan are reporting 358 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and six new deaths.

Since the pandemic began last year, 453 people have died in Saskatchewan due to the virus.

The province says a total of 3,086 cases of variants of concern have been identified by screening in Saskatchewan.

It says 206 people are in hospital with the illness and 43 of those are in intensive care.


4:45 p.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say the case involves someone in their 30s who recently travelled outside the Atlantic region.

P.E.I. has six active reported cases of COVID-19.


2:30 p.m.

A group of 285 Saskatchewan physicians have banded together to urge the provincial government to implement stricter COVID-19 health measures and vaccinate younger essential workers.

The doctors' names are on a letter sent today to Premier Scott Moe and Health Minister Paul Merriman that says intensive care admissions are at an all-time high with younger, previously healthy people.

It says many are front-line workers and are from lower socio-economic status groups who cannot stay home or cannot isolate from their families if someone is sick.

The doctors are calling for public-health measures to be consistent throughout the province and for paid sick leave for all essential workers.

And they want the vaccine rollout to include all health-care workers, teachers and those at higher risk due to socio-economic or medical risk factors.


2:25 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador's eastern health authority says a staff member at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The health authority says the case is under investigation and fewer than 10 people so far have been identified as close contacts of the person involved. 

Officials would not say if the employee was in contact with patients.


1:35 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting three additional deaths of people with COVID-19 and 179 new cases. 

However, three earlier cases have been removed due to data correction, bringing the net increase to 176.


1:30 p.m.

Manitoba is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements.

The government is reducing the minimum age for vaccines in the general population by two years — to 40 and up for Indigenous people and 60 and up for others. 

The province is also expanding the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to include people aged 65 and up.

Another mass vaccination centre is slated to open in north Winnipeg on May 7, adding to existing sites in downtown Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson and other communities.


1:10 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting three new cases of COVID-19. 

Officials say one case involves a man between 20 and 39 years old and his infection is related to travel within Canada.

Contact tracers are trying to chase down the source of the other two infections.

There are now eight active reported cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 1,025 infections have been reported in the province since the onset of the pandemic last spring.


1 p.m.

Health officials in New Brunswick have confirmed a person in their 60s in the Edmundston region has died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the province's number of deaths from the disease to 32.

There are eight new cases of COVID-19 in the province today, including six in the Edmundston region in the northwest of the province, one in the Moncton region and one in the Fredericton area.

The number of active cases is 140, and 19 patients are hospitalized, including 13 in intensive care.

A positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Garderie des P’tits Amis, a daycare in Edmundston, and the facility has been closed as contact tracing is carried out.


12:05 p.m.

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

One case is in the province's northern zone and is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

The second was recorded in the central zone, which includes Halifax, and it is under investigation.

The province now has 41 active cases of COVID-19.


11:45 a.m.

Canada's chief public health officer says the spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants is driving a strong resurgence of the virus in many parts of the country.

Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada saw average daily increases of more than 6,800 new cases and 30 deaths over the past week.

Tam says an average of more than 2,500 patients were treated for COVID-19 in hospitals last week, a seven per cent increase compared to the previous week.

She says the number of cases linked to more contagious variants of the virus has almost doubled over the past week.


11:40 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says stricter measures are needed in several parts of the country to curb the third wave of COVID-19.

Trudeau says more contagious variants of the virus are sending young people to hospital.

He says the federal government has delivered more than 10.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the provinces and territories.

The prime minister says Canada is expectingto receive at least 44 million doses from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca by the end of June.


11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,683 new COVID-19 cases today and eight more deaths attributed to the virus, including five in the previous 24 hours.

Health officials say hospitalizations rose by three to 569 over the pats 24 hours, while the number of intensive care patints rose by two to 134.

The Quebec City area continues to be the region reporting the highest daily cases, with 449. 

Montreal reported 392 new infections while the Chaudiere-Appalaches region, south of the provincial capital, logged 218.

The province administered 69,148 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, for a total of 1,754,749.


11:05 a.m.

Ontario hospitals are being instructed to ramp down elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures in order to treat a growing number of COVID-19 patients. 

Ontario Health's president and CEO sent a memo Thursday night instructing hospitals to make the move to preserve critical care and human resources, starting Monday.

Hospitals in northern Ontario are exempt, but Matthew Anderson says they should prepare to ramp down quickly in the near future. 

The memo from the body that oversees the province's health system also asks hospitals to identify staff who could be redeployed to other sites if necessary.


11 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 4,227 new cases of COVID-19 today and 18 additional deaths from the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 1,218 new cases in Toronto, 762 in Peel Region, and 532 in York Region.

She also says there are 247 new infections in Durham Region and 246 in Ottawa.

More than 61,410 tests were completed since the last report.


11 a.m.

 Ontario Premier Doug Ford received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today.

Ford received a shot of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine at a pharmacy in Toronto's west end.

Ford says he wanted to take the shot in front of media to help encourage people to get immunized and combat vaccine hesitancy.

The premier set a goal of getting 40 per cent of Ontarians -- or five million people -- their first dose over the next month.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press