The latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada (all times eastern):
Health officials in New Brunswick are saying that people who are less at risk for severe complications from COVID-19 can wait longer for a second dose of vaccine.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the shorter, two-dose schedule will continue for the most vulnerable, but others will get their second dose within 90 days.
Officials are reporting four new cases of COVID-19 today, all in the Edmundston region in the northwest of the province, which will be moved to the lower, “orange” pandemic-alert level at midnight tonight.
New Brunswick says it has 111 active reported cases of COVID-19 and five patients in hospital with the disease, including one in intensive care.
Newfoundland and Labrador health authorities are reporting 48 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Officials say there are also 46 presumed positive cases awaiting confirmation through further testing.
All of the 48 new cases are in the eastern health region, which includes the metro area of St. John’s, where an outbreak has been growing since last week.
Six people have recovered since yesterday and there are now 380 active reported infections across the province, with two people in hospital as a result of the disease.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says Ontario is carefully considering a plea from health officials in Toronto and Peel to delay loosening pandemic restrictions in their regions.
Elliott says the province's top doctor will be looking at new data today that will inform his recommendation on what should be done for the two COVID-19 hot spots.
Toronto and Peel are among the Ontario regions that have yet to move back to the province’s colour-coded framework.
The two local medical officers have asked that the current stay-at-home order stay in place in their regions until at least March 9.
Quebec is reporting 900 new cases of COVID-19 today and 10 more deaths linked to the virus.
Four of those deaths occurred within the past 24 hours.
Health officials say the number of hospitalizations dropped by 19, to 747, and 129 people were in intensive care, a drop of one.
The province says it administered 2,234 doses of vaccine yesterday, for a total of 302,118.
Ontario's fiscal watchdog says the province lost more than 355,000 jobs last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Financial Accountability Officer says in a report today that the job losses represent the single largest annual decline on record.
The report says that in addition to job losses, more than 765,000 Ontario residents worked fewer hours because of the pandemic.
The FAO says young workers were the hardest hit group, as youth unemployment jumped to 22 per cent.
The Manitoba government is now letting people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine carry proof with them.
A government website allows people to view their vaccination data and print it.
It's a temporary measure until formal vaccination cards are available, similar to ones in British Columbia.
Ontario says there are 1,038 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and 44 more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 376 of those new cases are in Toronto, 142 are in Peel Region and 122 are in York Region.
Another 12,383 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province since the last update.
Ontario has now given out more than 500,000 vaccine doses to date.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021.
The Canadian Press