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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada


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

10:30 p.m.

Ontario is closing all outdoor recreational amenities because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The province is issuing an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately.

Premier Doug Ford says the decision was made based on the best medical advice available.

The order will be in effect until April 13.


6:55 p.m.

Alberta's chief medical officer says there have been five COVID-19-related deaths in 24 hours in the province.

Alberta now has eight deaths from COVID-19 and 690 confirmed cases.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says two of the five deaths reported today were at long-term care facilities.

Hinshaw says four of the deaths were in the Calgary and Edmonton areas, and one was in the northern part of the province.

She says 94 people have recovered from the novel coronavirus.


6:40 p.m.

The federal government will pay the licence fees owed by broadcasters in the coming fiscal year, freeing up more than $30 million that radio and television outlets can use to continue providing round-the-clock coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says the government will pay the Part I licence fees broadcasters would normally pay to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

He says the move reflects the fact that broadcasters are working non-stop to deliver "credible and verified" information about the health emergency even as they face significant drops in advertising revenue.

Guilbeault says the government is working on more measures to support the industry.


6:05 p.m.

Yukon's chief medical officer of health says there is one new case of COVID-19 connected to a cluster investigation on Saturday.

There have now been five cases identified in the territory.

Dr. Brendan Hanley says he feels the risk to the public from these cases is low and no new cases have been identified since Saturday.

Hanley says all five people are doing well at home.


4:40 p.m.

The provincial health officer says British Columbia is at a critical time in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the next two weeks mark a second incubation period for the disease as she urged people to follow public health advice because the number of cases haven't peaked yet.

The province says two more people have died and another 86 people have tested positive for COVID-19 since Saturday.

The province has a total 970 cases of the novel coronavirus.

British Columbia has had 19 deaths related to COVID-19.

Henry says there are also 13 long-term care homes or assisted-living facilities that have outbreaks in the province, all of them in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas.


4:30 p.m.

The federal government says it has arranged for Canadians to fly home from several countries today, including Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti.

It has also arranged flights for Canadians in Sudan, Ghana and Cameroon, who will travel to Addis Ababa today to catch an overnight flight to Toronto.

Global Affairs Canada says more Canadians will come home from Spain, Ecuador, Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Hungary and Senegal in the coming days.

It says there will also be commercial flights soon to bring Canadian travellers home from India and Pakistan.


3:50 p.m.

Saskatchewan has recorded its first deaths related to COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health announced two patients in their 70s died from complications related to the virus.

It says they died in hospital in different parts of the province, and one was travel related.

As of today, the province has reported 176 cases of COVID-19.


3:25 p.m.

Ontario is reporting 10 more deaths from COVID-19.

The province's daily update this morning listed the number of deaths at 23, but the associate chief medical officer of health says that since then, public health units have reported 10 more, for a total of 33.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe says the information is incomplete at the moment, but the regions that have seen more deaths include Haliburton, Lambton, Haldimand Norfolk and Huron Perth.


2:20 p.m.

The Manitoba government is forcing non-essential businesses to close to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Salons, spas, bars and other establishments will be closed starting Wednesday.

Restaurants can remain open for takeout or delivery only.

The closures do not affect health-care facilities, government services and other institutions.

The measures are similar to those already in place in some other provinces, and are in place until at least April 14.

Premier Brian Pallister says it was not an easy decision, but is an important step to battle the novel coronavirus.


2 p.m.

An Ontario health unit says one nursing home has seen seven COVID-19 deaths and at least 24 staff members infected.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has said the outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon is believed to be the largest in the province.

The health unit says 10 other staff members are awaiting test results, and another person in the community has died in a case linked to the nursing home.


1:55 p.m.

Two inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at a maximum-security prison in Quebec, the first confirmed cases involving prisoners in a federal institution.

The Correctional Service of Canada says that prior to the two inmates being diagnosed, nine employees who work at Port-Cartier Institution also tested positive for the virus.

The service says in a news release all of these employees are in isolation at home and are following direction from local health officials.

As of Saturday, 50 tests were conducted on inmates in institutions with 45 negative and two positive results, with three others pending.


1:50 p.m.

New Brunswick chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell says there are two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the provincial total to 68.

So far in the province, one person has been hospitalized and two people have recovered.

Russell says a positive case in the province involves an employee of Shoppers Drug Mart in Saint John.

She says people who visited the Shoppers Drug Mart on the Old Hampton Road in Quispamsis, N.B. on March 18, 19 and 26 and the Shoppers Drug Mart on Landsdowne Avenue in Saint John on March 20, should take precautions.


1:20 p.m.

The first reported death related to COVID-19 in Atlantic Canada has been linked to a cluster that originated at Caul’s Funeral Home in St. John's earlier this month and has since been traced to 111 known cases of the illness.

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical officer of health, says the 78-year-old man had underlying health conditions.

Fitzgerald announced 13 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 148.

She also ordered a ban on all funerals, wakes and visitations and said weddings and burials are limited to five people including officiants.


1:10 p.m.

Quebec is reporting another spike in the number of cases in the province to 3,430 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In addition to 590 positive cases compared to Sunday, the province says three more people have died as a result of the virus, bringing the total number of deaths to 25.

Legault says the brightest stat of the day was that 78 people were in intensive care, an increase of just six cases.

The premier says today that to give retail employees a break, stores will be closing on Sundays in April, with only pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and takeout restaurants remaining open on those days.


12:55 p.m.

The federal government appears to be setting aside — for now — the use of powerful legislation to declare a national state of emergency.

Pablo Rodriguez, leader of the government in the House of Commons, says invoking the Emergencies Act is not currently on the table.

He says daily discussions with the provinces and territories provide confidence they have the tools they need.

The act can only be used in emergency situations where the federal government feels the need to override the provinces.


12:55 p.m.

The federal government is warning people not to stockpile their prescriptions to avoid local shortages of medications.

While the government had encouraged people to make sure they were supplied with their usual medications, it now says people shouldn't be hoarding more than they typically need.

The government has advised pharmacies not to dispense more than necessary, and is monitoring the supply of drugs.


12:45 p.m.

The union representing thousands of hotel and hospitality workers across Canada says its members were among the first hit by the COVID-19 crisis and desperately need help.

Leaders of UNITE HERE say the union's more than 18,000 members were some of the first laid off as hotels and restaurants closed, and expect to be among the last rehired as tourism slowly recovers.

Zalida Chan, president of the Unite Here local in Vancouver says the first step is an 80 per cent income replacement that keeps the mainly immigrant, single parent, female workers close to pre-crisis wages.

She says the union also must be part of the conversation when governments mull the use of shuttered hotels as care centres for COVID-19 patients.


12:45 p.m.

Prince Edward Island's chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says there are seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Island on Monday, bringing the provincial total up to 18.

Morrison says all seven of the new cases are related to international travel.

She stressed the need for people returning to PEI to self-isolate immediately, and not stop to shop at store on their way home.


12:40 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for a total of 127 confirmed cases in the province.

Health officials say while most of the province's cases have been connected to travel or a known case, public health now believes that one of its investigated cases is due to community spread of the virus.

Officials have been warning of eventual community transmission of COVID-19 for the past week.

The individuals affected range in age from under 10 to mid-70's with four patients currently in hospital

Ten people have now recovered in Nova Scotia and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.


12:20 p.m. 

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the military is getting ready to support COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

He says there are up to 24,000 regular and reserve force members prepared to roll out.

Sajjan says the work could include direct support to communities or help with logistics.

But he says the military has yet to receive a direct request for aid.


12:15 p.m.

Canada's chief public health officer says 220,000 people have been tested for COVID-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam says three per cent have been confirmed positive, and 93 per cent confirmed negative.

She says of the over 6,000 cases diagnosed so far, seven per cent have required hospitalization, three per cent are critical, and one per cent have been fatal.


12:05 p.m.

The government of the Northwest Territories says it will help Indigenous families who want to head out on the land as an alternative to physical distancing.

The N.W.T will administer a $2.6 million grant to help families buy the proper gear and supplies to head out to fishing and hunting camps.

Territorial chief public officer of health Kami Kandola says maintaining safe distances between people will be in many cases easier in such camps than in the overcrowded homes seen in northern communities.

The program, supported by Indigenous governments, will help pay for wood, fuel, food, First Aid equipment, transportation and other suitable items.


11:35 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says so far, the federal government has received no request from the provinces or territories to call in the military to aid with COVID-19 response efforts.

But Trudeau says if that were to change, the Canadian Armed Forces are ready.

He says senior military officials will provide more details later today.


11:30 a.m.

The CFL has postponed the start of training camps due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

League commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the spread of the pandemic has made it unsafe for players and coaches to gather together as scheduled.

The league has not given an indication of when camps might open.

Postponing training camps increases the likelihood of the CFL delaying the start of its 2020 regular season.


11:25 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is revealing the details of a previously announced wage subsidy this morning.

Trudeau says the program will cover all businesses whose revenue has dropped by at least 30 per cent because of COVID-19.

There is no restriction on the number of employees a company must have in order to qualify.

Trudeau says the program will apply to non-profits and charities as well.

He says the government will cover 75 per cent of salary on the first $58,700 a person earns.


11:25 a.m.

Two cruise ships carrying nearly 250 Canadians is on the move after being stranded off the coast of Panama after the novel coronavirus made its way on board.

The MS Zaandam has passed through the Panama Canal after being anchored on the west side of the canal with four dead and nearly 200 passengers and crew exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

Holland America says several people on its ship have tested positive for COVID-19.

Ottawa's Catherine McLeod says she and her husband are among several hundred passengers who have been transferred to the Zaandam's sister ship, the MS Rotterdam.


11:15 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 351 new COVID-19 cases today, the largest single-day increase by far.

Health officials say the jump is at least partly due to clearing a large backlog of pending test results.

The new total of cases in the province is 1,706 — including 431 resolved cases and 23 deaths.

The latest data for resolved cases had been stuck at eight for many days, and health officials had said to expect a large jump once the data caught up to a new definition for resolved.

The huge increase in the number of resolved cases also means there are actually fewer active COVID-19 cases in Ontario than Sunday's data had indicated.


9:25 a.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting its first death from COVID-19.

The Department of Health and Community Services says further details will be provided at a news conference this afternoon.

It's the first COVID-19 related death reported in Atlantic Canada


9:20 a.m.

The Canadian Ferry Association is flagging concerns that Canadians displaying symptoms of COVID-19 have not been banned from boarding ferries as they have been barred from planes and inter-city trains.

Association president Serge Buy says people with COVID-19 should be banned from ferries except in emergency situations such as going to the hospital.

Buy says the respiratory illness has already worsened already severe work shortages in the ferry sector.


9 a.m.

Statistics Canada is providing a detailed view of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this country.

The data posted online this morning shows information such as whether the source was travel or community exposure, the person’s hospitalization status and health outcome status.

The information is available by age and sex for cases between January 15 and March 27, but the agency says it will be updated with help from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The agency has spent the last 10 days setting up the infrastructure necessary for employees to remotely collect vital data on the economy and society.

Chief Statistician Anil Arora says that the national statistics office is also launching an online survey to see how Canadians are coping through the pandemic by asking questions around child care, elder care, stress and mental health.


8 a.m.

A loud and beloved Vancouver tradition is being altered for the first time in its 164-year history to show the city's appreciation for health care workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.

The Vancouver Park Board says starting tonight and continuing for the month of April, the Nine O'Clock Gun -- a 12-pound cannon in Stanley Park fired every night at 9 p.m. -- will be fired two hours earlier, at 7 p.m.

That matches the time each evening when residents across the city stand on porches, balconies and street corners to honk horns, cheer, clap and bang pots in a show of support for health care workers.

The park board says the Nine O'Clock Gun has been silent just a handful of times since it was given to the city in 1856 and the firing schedule has never been altered, but the change reflects widespread public appeals.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected version of an earlier item. The infected employee worked at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Saint John, New Brunswick on March 26, not 23, as previously stated. Also, non-essential businesses in Manitoba will be closed starting Wednesday, not Tuesday as previously reported.