The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada

·4 min read

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

8:20 p.m.

AstraZeneca is defending its vaccine after several European countries stopped administering the shot over concerns about blood clotting.

But Ann Taylor, the company's chief medical officer, says a safety review of more than 17 million patients in Europe and the U.K. who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine shows the product is safe.

She says there's no increased risk of either pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia in any age group, gender, batch of vaccines or country.

The company says there are reports of 15 patients experiencing deep-vein thrombosis and 22 pulmonary embolisms as of March 8, which is much lower than what would occur naturally in a population of more than 17 million people.

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6:30 p.m.

Alberta's chief medical health officer says the province has confirmed its first two cases of a fast-spreading variant of COVID-19 that was first identified in Brazil.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says in a series of tweets that both cases are travel related and were identified "thanks to the aggressive screening processes in place."

She says they're both in the Calgary zone.

She says 388 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the previous 24 hours.

Six new deaths have been recorded.

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4:10 p.m.

Saskatchewan says anyone who is 70 or older can book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday morning.

The cutoff age for the general population has been dropping steadily each day since Friday, when it was 80.

The cutoff age is much younger in the province's northern administrative district, where anyone 50 and over can make an appointment now.

Saskatchewan is reporting two new deaths among people with COVID-19, along with 98 new cases.

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2 p.m.

Manitoba health officials are reporting one additional death in a person with COVID-19, and 44 new cases of the virus in the province.

The government's daily pandemic update says the person who died was a man in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region, and that his death is linked to an outbreak at the Southeast Personal Care Home.

Manitoba has 148 patients in hospital due to COVID-19, 23 of whom are in intensive care.

The province's five-day test-positivity rate is 4.5 per cent provincially and 3.1 per cent in Winnipeg.

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1:40 p.m.

Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today.

Three cases are in the Edmunston region, while the Moncton and Fredericton regions each have one new infection.

There are now 37 active cases in the province and one patient is hospitalized.

Since the onset of the pandemic, New Brunswick has had 1,470 cases of COVID-19 and 30 virus-related deaths.

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12:40 p.m.

Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

The case is in the Central Zone and is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

A case reported in the Central Zone Saturday that was under investigation has been removed from the provincial count due to a data entry error, meaning there were four new infections that day rather than five.

As of today, Nova Scotia has 18 active cases of COVID-19.

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11:10 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 674 new cases of COVID-19 as well as five additional deaths linked to the pandemic.

Of those deaths, three occurred in the last 24 hours while the rest happened earlier.

Hospitalizations dropped by four to 547, with 100 people in intensive care, which is six fewer than a day prior.

The province administered 31,611 vaccines on Saturday, and says it has now given a dose to 8.4 per cent of the population.

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10:30 a.m.

Ontario's vaccine booking system, which includes an online portal and phone line, is set to go live on Monday morning.

The province says residents aged 80 and older will be able to schedule their shots starting at 8 a.m.

They can do so either at www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine, or by phone at 1-888-999-6488.

The province says vaccines will be offered to other age groups starting in April when its immunization drive enters Phase 2.

Details of the provincial portal come as Ontario reports 1,747 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 virus-related deaths, though officials say the numbers are likely inflated by data catchup efforts.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press