The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Monday, March 15

·6 min read

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

6:35 p.m.

British Columbia is reporting 1,506 new COVID-19 cases since Friday.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there were 10 COVID-19 deaths over the three-day period, bringing B.C.‘s provincial death total to 1,407 people.

She also reports 163 cases of new variants of concern.

Henry says she is considering loosening public health orders in the coming days on gatherings for religious services.

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6 p.m.

Alberta's top doctor has detailed who will be eligible in the province's next vaccine rollout phases between April and June.

First, anyone born between 1957 and 2005 with some chronic health conditions will be able to book a shot.

That includes people with certain lung, kidney, liver and heart diseases; people treated for cancer in the past year; those with severe mental illness and substance use disorders; and pregnant women.

After that, vaccines will be available for more health-care workers and people with jobs in certain congregate living settings, such as jails and homeless shelters.

Workers in meat plants, where there have been a number of large outbreaks, will also qualify in this phase.

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5:30 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 364 new COVID-19 infections and three additional deaths.

Sixty-five of the new infections involved virus variants believed to be more transmissible.

The test positivity rate in Alberta is about 5.5 per cent.

Provincewide, each COVID-19 case caused an average of 1.07 new infections over the past week.

Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw urged Albertans to redouble their efforts to follow public health orders in order to drive that number below one.

There are 255 in hospital, including 42 in intensive care.

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4:30 p.m.

The B.C. government says the first doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine coming to the province will be used by priority and front-line workers before Phase 3 starts.

A joint statement from the provincial health officer and health minister says poultry, fish and fruit processing plants; agricultural operations; and large industrial camps will be targeted for the shots.

Some European countries have stopped giving out the vaccine over possible side-effects of blood clots.

The statement says the best vaccine is the one that's available.

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3:55 p.m.

Saskatchewan's first drive-thru vaccination clinic reports immunizing at least 500 people against the novel coronavirus.

It opened in Regina and officials say people have been waiting between four and five hours for a shot.

The drive-thru clinic is only open to residents who are 64 years old.

The province plans to operate the clinic through the rest of the week and later today expects to announce that the cutoff age will drop.

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3:50 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting another 210 presumed cases of more contagious COVID-19 variants in the province.

Health officials say 185 of these probable cases have been found in the Regina area.

The capital city is already where most of the 70 confirmed variant cases have been detected.

The Ministry of Health says there are 110 new COVID-19 infections to report provincewide.

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2:35 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say the case is travel-related and involves a person in their 50s in the Edmundston region.

New Brunswick has 36 active reported cases and one person in hospital with the disease.

The province has reported a total of 1,471 COVID-19 infections and 30 deaths linked to the virus.

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1:55 p.m.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is promising to resolve reported issues with the province’s vaccine booking portal.

Ford says he does not want technical issues to deter people from using the portal, which launched today.

He says more than 45,000 people have been able to book appointments so far using the website and a call centre, which also launched today.

Ford says between both systems, the province has been able to book 375 people a minute to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

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1:40 p.m.

Manitoba health officials are announcing 50 new cases of COVID-19 but no additional deaths.

Officials also say 18 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant originally identified in the United Kingdom have been confirmed in Manitoba.

A total of 41 variants of concern cases have been found in the province.

Vaccine eligibility has also been expanded to people 77 and older, and First Nations people aged 57 and older.

To date, 106,931 doses of vaccine have been administered in Manitoba.

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12:20 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 today — exactly one year since the province reported its first three presumptive infections tied to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials say Nova Scotia has 17 active reported cases.

They say one person is in intensive care in hospital with the disease.

The province says it had administered 48,077 doses of COVID-19 as of Sunday, with 16,113 people having received a booster shot.

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11:45 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he'll happily take a COVID-19 vaccine when his time comes.

But Trudeau isn't circling a date on the calendar for his turn because he says that's not where his focus is at the moment.

Canada is scheduled to receive more than one million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines every week as vaccination efforts ramp up nationally.

Trudeau says more essential workers should be able to get vaccinated after vulnerable populations such as seniors.

He says his mother, Margaret, received her vaccine last week.

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11:30 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is keeping a close eye on European reaction to a batch of COVID-19 vaccines linked to possible side effects.

Multiple countries have paused usage of the vaccines made by Oxford-AstraZeneca over concerns they cause blood clots.

Trudeau says none of the doses Canada has received from the vaccine maker are from the problematic batch.

He says Health Canada regulators regularly analyze information about vaccines and have guaranteed those approved in Canada are safe for use.

Similarly, Quebec Premier Francois Legault says provincial health officials see no risk associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Trudeau is urging Canadians to get vaccinated as quickly as possible and to take the first vaccine offered to them.

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11 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 594 new COVID-19 cases and 10 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including two in the past 24 hours.

Health officials said today hospitalizations rose by six, to 553, and 96 people were in intensive care, a drop of four.

The province says it administered 26,595 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Sunday, for a total of 744,108.

Quebec has reported a total of 298,186 COVID-19 infections and 10,550 deaths linked to the virus; it has 6,881 active reported cases.

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10:30 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 1,268 new cases of COVID-19 today and nine more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said today there are 366 new cases in Toronto, 220 in Peel Region, and 147 in York Region.

The province says more than 33,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Sunday's daily report.

A total of 1,191,553 vaccine doses have been given in Ontario.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press