The latest news on COVID-19 in Canada

·8 min read

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

7:20 p.m.

British Columbia has recorded another 299 cases of COVID-19, for a total of 15,800 infections in the province.

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson and Health Minister Adrian Dix say in a joint statement that three more people have died of the disease, for a total of 272 fatalities.

They say COVID-19 is being transmitted mostly through social gatherings so it’s important to keep groups small.

Gatherings in homes are limited to members of a household plus another "safe six" people.

There are now 30 known cases of the illness associated with a dance studio in the Fraser Health region, which has the province’s highest number of cases.

---

6:20 p.m.

The active number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta's two largest cities sits at more than 2,500 each and the province's top doctor says that's a problem.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she's particularly concerned about Calgary, where the infection rate has grown to 1.2 in the last five days.

That means every person who contracts the illness is infecting 1.2 other people.

Hinshaw says one bit of good news is that Edmonton has lowered its rate to one.

She says it should become evident in the next few days whether increased restrictions in the two cities, including a 15-person cap on social and family gatherings, are working.

If numbers don't start trending down, Hinshaw says, "other options" may need to be considered.

Hinshaw reported an average of 567 new daily cases in the province in the last four days: 581 on Friday, 525 on Saturday, 592 on Sunday and 570 on Monday.

---

2:55 p.m.

A national advisory committee has released a priority list for the hoped-for COVID-19 vaccine.

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization says essential workers, people at risk of transmitting COVID-19, and those at risk of severe illness or death should be first in line.

The independent group of 15 experts says there will likely be early "challenges" to inoculate everyone who is at risk from COVID-19.

The committee says those at highest risk should be protected first to control the pandemic and minimize illness, death and societal disruption.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she hopes to have a safe, effective vaccine as soon as next year. 

The recommendations were published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

---

2:30 p.m.

Saskatchewan is making masks mandatory in indoor public places in its three big cities. 

The new rule for Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert is to come into effect on Friday and last at least 28 days.

Saskatchewan is also reducing the maximum size for indoor gatherings to 10 from 15. 

The province announced 81 new daily cases in its latest COVID-19 update.

---

1:40 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting 102 new COVID-19 cases — a drop from recent days.

The province had said there were 103 new cases today, but one case was removed because it was from out of province.

It also says there have been five new deaths.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is eyeing a curfew to try to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and is planning an electronic town hall on the idea later this week.

Pallister is also promising beefed-up enforcement of public health orders such as limits on public gatherings.

---

1:15 p.m.

Ontario is launching a new colour-coded system that will determine when and to what extent COVID-19 restrictions are placed on parts of the province. 

The government says the system will be used to respond to the pandemic on a regional level.

Areas with the lowest levels of virus case counts, positivity rates and community transmission will be placed in a green category, with the most permissive rules. 

The system then moves upward through yellow, orange and red categories, with increasingly strict measures, and has a grey "lockdown" level for maximum measures.

The system goes into effect this weekend.

---

1:05 p.m.

Several workers building an addition to a hospital in British Columbia have tested positive for COVID-19.

Interior Health, which delivers health services to residents across B.C.'s southern Interior, says the workers are building a patient care tower at the hospital in Kamloops, about 350 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, and a number tested positive.

Officials aren't saying how many workers are involved and are not classing this as an outbreak because they say exposures are limited to the crew, and there was no mingling with others on-site.

A statement from the health authority says it is confident workers have not spread the novel coronavirus to staff or into the hospital.

---

12:25 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is working on making sure the country has enough influenza vaccine for everyone who wants a shot.

He says officials are particularly trying to get more doses to Ontario, where demand for the vaccine has outstripped supply.

Public health officials have said as many people as possible should get flu shots this year, to reduce the risk of catching the flu and COVID-19 at the same time and so influenza cases don't put needless strain on health facilities.

The difficulty getting enough flu vaccine and getting it into willing patients is seen as a practice round for distributing an eventual vaccine for COVID-19.

---

12:05 p.m.

Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada has about 30,000 active cases of COVID-19 now.

In a briefing in Ottawa, she says the average day in the past week has seen about 1,100 people in hospital with the illness, a sign that people are getting sicker.

Tam is also making a pitch for Canadians to wear three-layer masks, with an internal filter layer, to further reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.

---

11:50 a.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting one new case of COVID-19 and now has 16 active cases.

Health officials say the new case is in the northern health zone and is currently under investigation.

The province has had a total of 1,114 known cases of the novel coronavirus with 1,033 cases considered recovered.

There have been 65 deaths.

---

11:45 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada's window to turn around its COVID-19 pandemic is closing fast.

He says soaring case counts in Europe show how easily things can get out of hand, with the virus that causes the respiratory illness seeking every chance to spread.

Trudeau says he's paid particular attention to Manitoba lately, where cases have spiked.

But Canadians everywhere need to cut their in-person contacts, follow public health rules and use the federal government's COVID Alert app, he says.

As difficult as it is to limit our activities, Trudeau says it will be harder later if we don't.

---

11:30 a.m.

Ontario has recorded 1,050 new cases of COVID-19 today, marking a new high for the province. 

The government is also reporting 14 additional deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 408 of the new cases are in Toronto, 212 are in Peel Region, 86 in Halton Region, 76 in York Region and 57 in Durham Region.

Ontario says it completed nearly 25,300 tests since its last daily report.

The latest figures bring the total number of cases in the province to 78,705, which includes 3,166 deaths and 67,244 cases considered resolved.

---

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 871 new COVID-19 infections and 34 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including five that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Health authorities said today the number of people in hospital rose by 27 to 526, and 85 people were in intensive care, a rise of four.

Authorities say 920 more people have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 93,316.

The province has reported a total of 108,889 COVID-19 infections and 6,317 deaths linked to the virus.

---

10:30 a.m.

Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says restaurants are reeling from COVID-19 restrictions and as many as 60 per cent are warning they might close by the end of the year.

He also says governments need to provide better information about where exactly the novel coronavirus is spreading because restaurants don't appear to be high-risk locations.

Ontario barred indoor seating at bars and restaurants in Toronto and most of its suburbs and in Ottawa weeks ago, responding to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.

Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches says her health unit is concerned that that's led people to gather in private homes, which can be higher-risk than public establishments that have good safety practices.

She says epidemiologists will be watching case data closely when restaurants can reopen

---

9:30 a.m.

A dance studio east of Vancouver is the site of the latest significant outbreak of COVID-19 in British Columbia.

Fraser Health says Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack closed voluntarily last Wednesday after 26 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The academy offers a variety of classes for toddlers to teenagers and has about one dozen instructors but the health authority hasn't said how many of the illnesses are among students or staff.

It says all those identified as cases and close contacts have been instructed to self-isolate and health officials are also working with area school districts to ensure they are informed of possible exposures.

---

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press