The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for March 25, 2021

·10 min read

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

7:45 p.m.

Yukon has two new cases of COVID-19, including its first case of a variant of concern.

A statement from chief medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Hanley says case number 73 is a Whitehorse resident who is linked to international travel.

Case 74 in the territory is a non-Yukon resident who arrived on March 21 and has been in self-isolation since then.

The statement says that person contracted the virus in another jurisdiction and has tested positive for the COVID-19 variant linked to the United Kingdom.

The statement says people may have been exposed to COVID-19 on an Air North flight from Vancouver on March 21 that arrived at 8:41 p.m. and they should self-monitor for symptoms.

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7 p.m.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says this week's second shipment of Moderna vaccine doses will be delayed.

Anand says the company has a "backlog in its quality assurance process" that is delaying the shipment.

Canada received 255,600 doses of Moderna at the Toronto airport Wednesday, and was to get another 590,400 on Saturday.

Anand says they are now going to be arriving no later than April 1.

The delay has nothing to do with recent changes to European export controls as the shipment's export has already been authorized.

Anand says Moderna has promised it is a temporary backlog that won't affect its next scheduled delivery the week of April 5.

Canada is to get 855,600 doses from Moderna that week.

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6:30 p.m.

COVID-19 cases have leaped to 800 in British Columbia, the highest daily rate since Nov. 28.

A joint statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix says there are also 191 new confirmed variant cases.

Henry said during a news conference earlier Thursday that variants are taking over the infection rate.

There have also been five more deaths, bringing the death toll since the start of the pandemic to 1,446.

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6:20 p.m.

The head of the Saskatchewan Health Authority says it's unacceptable for people in Regina to be waiting up to four hours to get tested for COVID-19 at a drive-thru clinic.

Scott Livingstone says the site has seen some of its highest volumes to date in the pandemic over the past three days.

Regina is dealing with a spike in COVID-19 cases, many of which are thought to be from more infectious variants of the virus.

Livingstone says hours will be expanded at the drive-thru site as the health authority scales up its testing capacity in the city.

He says the spread of more transmissible mutations of the virus like the strain first detected in the United Kingdom, known as B.1.1.7, is leading to younger people in intensive care.

Of Saskatchewan's 1,064 variant cases, 895 have been found in and around Regina.

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6 p.m.

Alberta is reporting an increase in new cases of COVID-19.

The province says there are 764 new infections.

Of those, 191 are variant cases.

There have also been three additional deaths linked to the illness.

There are currently 294 people in hospital with COVID-19, and 55 of them are in intensive care.

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5 p.m.

Health officials are announcing another 168 new COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan.

It says there are 154 people in hospital, including 22 in intensive care.

Regina and surrounding communities are reporting 895 cases of more infectious COVID-19 variants, the most anywhere in the province.

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4:30 p.m.

Residents of assisted-living and long-term care homes in B.C. will soon have regular opportunities for social visits that have been restricted since last March.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is at a point where the benefits of allowing social interactions starting April 1 outweigh the risks of continued outbreaks.

Henry says the limit of a single designated visitor for each resident will be removed and up to two adults plus a child will be allowed to visit their loved one at a given time.

She says visits may take place in residents’ rooms, without monitoring by staff, and physical touch will be allowed provided people wear masks and wash their hands.

Henry also announced further details about changes to public health rules that will allow limited indoor and outdoor religious gatherings in the coming weeks.

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4:10 p.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting one new positive case of COVID-19 today.

The case involves a woman in her 30s who is a close contact of a previously reported infection.

P.E.I. has nine active reported cases of COVID-19.

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2:25 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say two cases are travel-related and a third involves a contact of a previously reported infection.

Officials are also reporting a new case that was identified at Millwood High School in Middle Sackville.

They say the person involved was not in school today and that the school building will be closed for deep cleaning.

Nova Scotia has 25 active reported cases of COVID-19.

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2 p.m.

Health officials are imposing circuit-breaker measures in an effort to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 in an area of northwestern New Brunswick.

As of 6 p.m. this evening, the city of Edmundston and the upper Madawaska region to the borders of Quebec and Maine will revert to the red level of the province's pandemic response plan.

The rest of the province will remain at the yellow level.

Officials are reporting 30 new cases of COVID-19 today -- 24 in the Edmundston region, five in the Saint John area and one in the Bathurst region.

There are now 89 active cases in the province, and three patients are in hospital.

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1:35 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting one new COVID-19 death and 111 new cases.

However, six cases from unspecified dates have been removed due to data correction, for a net increase of 105.

One earlier death has also been removed due to data correction.

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12:30 p.m.

Health Canada’s chief medical adviser says the three cases of blood clotting reported so far out of 300,000 Canadians who have received at least one dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca have no apparent link to the vaccine.

Dr. Supriya Sharma says one case involved a pulmonary embolism and two cases involved a stroke, but none resembled the very rare brain blood clot associated with extremely low platelet counts identified in Europe, where a relative handful of cases have stirred fears.

Sharma says clinicians and doctors in Canada are conducting a “causality assessment” for all three cases, establishing so far that one of the two stroke cases was likely due to causes unrelated to the vaccine.

She says blood clotting rates are the same or even higher among people who have not received the AstraZeneca vaccine than for those who’ve been jabbed.

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12 p.m.

The Manitoba government is promising $6 million in financial support for the arts and culture sector, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Brian Pallister says museums, festivals, cultural facilities, artists and musical groups will be among the eligible recipients.

COVID-19 restrictions have forced concert halls, theatres, cinemas and other facilities to remain closed.

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11:30 a.m.

Health Canada's chief medical adviser says she’s “concerned” about reports of vaccine hesitancy among health-care workers.

Dr. Supriya Sharma says vaccine acceptance tops 90 per cent in some parts of the country, but lags in others.

She says it’s important to dig into why hospital and long-term care workers are leery, and to give them more information addressing their worries.

Sharma says it’s “completely understandable” that people have questions as researchers study whether there is any link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and a very small number of rare brain blood clots, but adds that no incidents have been reported in Canada.

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11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 945 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus, including one in the previous 24 hours.

Health authorities say 496 people are in hospital, a drop of 12 patients, with 117 requiring intensive care, down by one.

The province gave 39,814 doses of vaccine on Wednesday for a total of 1,065,823 since the COVID-19 vaccination campaign began.

Quebec has reported a total of 305,435 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10,630 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic and has 7,173 active cases.

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11 a.m.

The major-general overseeing the country's vaccine program says there is “no indication” that shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada will be delayed, but adds that discussions are ongoing.

Media reports Wednesday said India has halted exports of Covishield, the version of AstraZeneca produced at the country’s Serum Institute.

India has already supplied 500,000 doses of a planned two million to Canada, with another one million still slated for arrival in mid-April followed by a final shipment a month or so later.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin's remarks to reporters echoed those of International Trade Minister Mary Ng, who said Wednesday there is nothing to indicate Canada’s supply chains will be disrupted.

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10:35 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 2,380 new cases of COVID-19, but the Ministry of Health says that number is inflated by a data processing issue.

A ministry spokeswoman says that approximately 280 cases were added to the count because of a data catch-up process.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 1,016 of those new cases are in Toronto.

She also says there are 294 new cases in Peel Region, 244 in York Region and 152 in Ottawa.

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10:15 a.m.

Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout has reached a double-digit milestone, as 11 per cent of the country's adult population is now at least partially protected from the virus.

Canada's deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says the country has surpassed the 10 per cent mark of residents over 18 who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Njoo adds, however, that 11 per cent isn't enough to stop the spread of the virus, and more transmissible variants continue to pose a "significant threat" as widespread protection is still not established.

Njoo says over 4.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada since the rollout began in mid-December.

Sixty per cent of Canadians over the age of 80, and 19 per cent of those aged 70 to 79 years have received at least one dose, Njoo says.

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10 a.m.

Health Canada has updated the product label for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to warn about blood clotting, but says reports of those events are “very rare” — and in Canada nonexistent.

The label warning follows reports from Europe that AstraZeneca might cause a rare type of blood clot in the brain in a very small number of patients.

Health Canada's chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma says she agrees with European health authorities that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any potential risks, and that all four vaccines approved for use in Canada are considered safe.

Sharma says Health Canada is keeping an eye on developments across the Atlantic, where researchers say they have identified a possible cause for the blood clots, but little information is available so far.

She says about 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine, made at the Serum Institute of India, have been administered in Canada to date, with no serious health events reported.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press