October 23, 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):

2:55 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. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

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. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

Newfoundland and Labrador's number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains at 259, with 232 people having recovered.

There were no new cases reported over the weekend.

The majority of the cases are in the St. John's area, as Eastern Health is reporting 241 of the total positive tests.

Four people are in hospital due to the virus. Of these patients, two are in intensive care.


2:45 p.m.

New Brunswick is entering its third week with no new COVID-19 cases.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick remains at 118, but all have recovered.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, says it's good to be outside in warmer weather.

But she's cautioning that one family should consistently restrict their interactions to one other chosen family, a process known as "bubbling."


2:35 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting six more COVID-19 deaths at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, the site of the majority of the province's active cases.

The death toll in the province is now at 37, with 31 of those at the non-profit facility.

As of Sunday, Nova Scotia has 347 active cases of COVID-19, with 220 involving residents of Northwood.

The managers of the facility announced the deaths Sunday, saying it is an "incredibly heartbreaking time."


1:45 p.m.

A justice advocacy group says it wants prisoners at a federal institution in British Columbia ravaged by a COVID-19 outbreak to know there are people in the community fighting for their safety.

Meenakshi Mannoe of the Vancouver Prison Justice Day Committee says members will rally outside Mission Institution today and make noise from within their cars or at a safe physical distance.

The committee is calling for the urgent care of all prisoners across Canada and the immediate release of detainees to ensure adequate physical distancing and quarantine measures.

The B.C. government said yesterday that 133 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the prison.


1:25 p.m.

Quebec is reporting 892 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, as well as 1,317 additional cases from April that were not previously included in the provincial tally.

The province says those previous cases originated mostly from the Montreal, Laval and Monteregie areas, and were not counted due to a technical problem.

The province now has 31,865 cases and 2,205 deaths, the latter an increase of 69 over yesterday.

Quebec says 7,258 people have recovered from the illness.


1 p.m.

Quebec's education minister is telling the province's English-language school boards that they don't have the right to refuse to reopen their elementary schools amid concern over COVID-19.

Jean-Francois Roberge's office says in an email that the government has the exclusive legal jurisdiction when it comes to deciding when the school year resumes after a pause brought on by the global pandemic.

Last week, the province's English-language school boards association signalled to the minister that they would reopen "if and when" they believed the situation to be safe, regardless of the government's schedule.

While high schools are closed for the remainder of the school year, most elementary schools and daycares are scheduled to reopen May 11, with those in hard-hit Montreal set to follow a week later.


11:40 a.m.

The federal government is investing millions to boost online access to health services and to support a Vancouver biological company's research into treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new funding during his daily news conference in Ottawa this morning as provinces across the country prepare to start re-opening on Monday.

The government is spending $240 million to boost access to online health services, including mental-health support and virtual access to doctors for primary care.

Ottawa is also providing $175 million to AbCellera Biologics Inc., which Trudeau says has shown promising signs of progress in identifying antibodies that could be used create a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.

11:15 a.m.

A rapid test developed for COVID-19 has experienced a setback.

Ottawa's Spartan Bioscience says it is voluntarily recalling its COVID-19 product and performing additional studies after Health Canada expressed some concerns Friday.

Spartan says Health Canada was concerned about the "efficacy of the proprietary swab" for the testing product. The company says Health Canada had no concerns about the accuracy and analytical performance of the product.

Health Canada says the product is restricted to research use only until adequate evidence of clinical performance can be provided.

10:50 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 434 new cases of COVID-19 and another 40 deaths related to the virus.

The death toll now stands at 1,216 and the COVID-19 case count has hit 17,553.

Of those cases, 12,005 have been marked as resolved.

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