August 13, 2020

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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada

The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):

8:15 p.m.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, gray, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID-RML via AP

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, gray, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID-RML via AP

British Columbia is reporting 43 new COVID-19 cases, but no new deaths.

A joint statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. now has a total of 1,618 COVID-19 cases.

The statement says 119 people are in hospital with 52 of those people in intensive care.

It says 966 people have recovered from COVID-19.

Earlier Friday, Henry and Dix released modelling data showing B.C. is flattening the COVID-19 curve to the point where plans are underway to loosen some provincial restrictions.


7:10 p.m.

Yukon has recorded another infection of COVID-19, bringing the territory's total to nine cases.

Yukon chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley says the infection of the person in Whitehorse is related to international travel and contact tracing is underway.

A statement from the territory says there has been no known community transmission and it expects to find fewer infections because of the border restrictions recently introduced.

The territory beefed up its border control measure on Friday, giving enforcement officers stationed at Yukon's boundaries the legal authority to deny non-essential travellers from entering.


6:30 p.m.

Saskatchewan's chief medical health says there are more cases of COVID-19 in the province's long-term care homes.

Dr. Saqib Shahab says a second staff member at an assisted living facility in Regina has tested positive for COVID-19 and three residents are showing symptoms.

He also says there's an outbreak in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche tied to an assisted living centre.

The province updated its public health orders to say long-term and personal care homes should ensure staff only work at one facility.

Staff already have to have their temperatures checked before entering a facility.


6 p.m.

Alberta is reporting no new deaths today from COVID-19.

But Premier Jason Kenney says there have been 239 new infections.

That brings the total number of cases in Alberta to 2,397.

The total number of fatalities in the province remains at 50.

Kenney says 1,124 people have so far recovered.


4:18 p.m.

The Saskatchewan government says the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a $3.3 billion decline in provincial revenue.

Officials have released projections based on different scenarios where revenue declines range from $1.3 billion to $3.3 billion.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer says it's still unclear how long restrictions on public interaction will be in place.

Meanwhile, officials announced one new and one presumptive case of the virus bringing the total in Saskatchewan to 307.

It says 228 people have recovered and four have died.


3:30 p.m.

Transport Canada says that starting Monday, people flying to or from Canadian airports will have to have masks to contain their germs.

Minister Marc Garneau says that starting at noon on April 20, passengers won't be allowed to board planes unless they have non-medical face coverings, to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

They'll only have to wear the masks when they have to be close to others, such as at screening points or if the planes are crowded.

Masks are being encouraged for passengers on boats, ferries, trains and buses but aren't being made mandatory.


2:30 p.m.

The latest health models examining British Columbia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic show the province has managed to "flatten the curve," slowing the spread of the virus.

Officials say B.C.'s rate of cases of the new coronavirus is below expected levels — and well below those recorded in Italy or in China's Hubei province, where the virus was first reported.

Henry says the data shows early implementation of measures such as social distancing allowed B.C. to cut the number of cases of the illness.

She says B.C. is experiencing a slowing of the rate of infections but warns the "new normal" will include continued public health restrictions for at least the next several months.


2:27 p.m.

Manitoba health officials say there are no new COVID-19 cases in the province, leaving the total at 250.

For the first time, the number of recovered cases has surpassed the number of active cases.

Five people have died in Manitoba since the pandemic began, and eight are currently in hospital.


2:20 p.m.

Ontario is making free emergency child care available for more workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says that in addition to previously announced spaces for health-care workers, first responders and correctional officers, another 11,300 spots could be needed under the expansion.

Workers who will be eligible now include staff in developmental services, victim services, violence against women services, children's aid societies, probation and parole officers, staff in homeless shelters, power workers, RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency officers, and Canada Post employees.

Lecce did not give any indication if school closures will be extended beyond May 4, but says Ontario has partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to send more than 21,000 iPads with free wireless data to families in need to help with at-home learning.


2 p.m.

Environmental groups are praising the federal government's oilpatch bailout, saying it helps people and not polluters.

Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada says the $1.7 billion plan to clean up abandoned energy facilities and $750 million to reduce methane emissions shows the Liberals remain committed to their environmental program.

Keith Stewart of Greenpeace says the program will put people back to work, but he warns the money should include conditions to ensure taxpayers aren't stuck with future environmental liabilities.


1:45 p.m.

The Quebec government is appealing to people who have recently lost their jobs because of the pandemic to lend a hand in farm fields.

Premier Francois Legault says the province will be announcing a program this afternoon to make the work more attractive by adding $100 a week to what farmers pay their workers.

He says he knows the work is not easy but it could be "a beautiful experience" for many Quebecers.

Legault also says it is possible to maintain a distance of two metres from other when working on farms.


1:40 p.m.

Health officials in New Brunswick aren't reporting any new cases of COVID-19 today — and they say three more patients have recovered from the virus.

The province's total number of confirmed cases sits at 117, including 83 patients who have recovered.

Five people remain in hospital, three of them in intensive care.


1:20 p.m.

Quebec is reporting a total of 16,798 cases and 58 more COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the provincial toll to 688.

Premier Francois Legault says while 1,076 people are hospitalized, with 207 of those in intensive care, the COVID-19 situation in Quebec is largely stable outside the Montreal area.

Legault said he's been considering what he could have done since becoming premier to have avoided the situation in the province's hard-hit long-term care homes that are dealing with a severe lack of staffing.

He says if he could do it again, he would have raised the salaries of orderlies more quickly.


12:50 p.m.

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

The province's total number of confirmed cases now stands at 256.

Health officials say seven people remain in hospital, three of them in intensive care.

The viral infection has claimed three lives in the easternmost province.


12:45 p.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 Friday, leaving the provincial total at 26 cases.

Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison says 23 of those cases are considered recovered.

She says public health measures being followed by Islanders are working and encouraged people to continue to follow the measures.


12:35 p.m.

The federal government is planning virtual Canada Day celebrations in place of the traditional gathering on Parliament Hill.

It is working with Canadian artists to put together a program, and promises more details soon.


12:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will provide $500 million in support to the arts, culture and sports sectors through Heritage Canada.

The move comes as part of broader efforts to support creative industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau says those industries "continue to make us dream, particularly in dark times."

More details on the financial support are expected to be outlined today by Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault.


12:25 p.m.

Health authorities in Nova Scotia have confirmed a fourth person in the province has died from complications caused by COVID-19.

The latest victim is a woman in her 80s from Cape Breton.

The province now has 606 confirmed cases, with 27 cases added to the list on Friday.

Eleven individuals are in hospital — five in intensive care — and 177 have now recovered.


12:20 p.m.

The Senate will not resume sitting until June 2 at the earliest.

The office of the Speaker of the upper chamber says the decision was taken as part of the Senate's efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Senate was slated to return on Tuesday.

Negotiations continue among the major parties as to whether — and exactly how — the House of Commons will resume Monday.


11:50 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is suggesting Parliament sit one day a week to support democratic principles while respecting public-health advice during the pandemic.

The Conservatives want four days a week of in-person sittings, potentially supplemented by eventual virtual meetings.

The four main parties in the House of Commons are locked in negotiations to determine if and how Parliament resumes on Monday, the deadline set for it to reconvene following its adjournment in mid-March.


11:35 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will support work in the oil and gas sector by spending $1.7 billion to help clean up "orphaned wells."

He says restoring abandoned oil and gas wells is good for the environment, for landowners who have to contend with them, and for thousands of workers the effort will employ.

The federal government is also creating a $700-million fund to cut methane emissions.

Trudeau says more assistance is coming for workers in the arts and other sectors as well.


11:30 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is sending military assistance to Quebec.

He says 125 members of the Canadian Armed Forces with medical expertise will travel to the province to support the province's long-term care facilities.


10:50 a.m.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says his party isn’t satisfied with the government’s response to a proposal to have Parliament sit virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tories have asked for a few sittings a week, with just a few MPs in the House of Commons sitting at least two metres apart.

The Liberals are proposing virtual sittings with all MPs.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Scheer says there is no reason that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet ministers can’t stand in the House of Commons to answer questions when they hold daily press briefings.


10:50 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 564 new COVID-19 cases today, with 55 new deaths.

It's the largest single-day increase of cases, though the growth rate is still holding steady at around six per cent.

Ontario has now seen 9,525 cases, with nearly half now resolved, and including 478 deaths.

The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 grew from 807 to 829, but the numbers of people in intensive care and on ventilators remained steady.


9:20 a.m.

Quebec's political parties have agreed to adjourn the legislature until May 5 amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

At the beginning of the outbreak, the government had set April 21 as a date to resume sitting.

The request for an extension came from the governing Coalition Avenir Quebec and was agreed to by the three other main parties at the national assembly.

The parties have also agreed to hold virtual parliamentary committee hearings between April 24 and May 1 that will feature several cabinet ministers, including Health Minister Danielle McCann.


9:10 a.m.

An Ontario health-care union says a personal support worker at a Toronto long-term care home has died from COVID-19.

SEIU Healthcare says their member of 31 years was a caring and compassionate worker, and her death is a reminder of the very real dangers front-line health workers are facing.

The woman worked at Sienna Altamont Care Community in east Toronto.

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