The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Wednesday, March 31

·8 min read

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

8:50 p.m.

Yukon is reporting one new out-of-territory COVID-19 case.

The government says in a news release that the new case is a Yukon resident who caught the infection out of the territory.

The person was tested and will remain outside Yukon until no longer infectious.

The release says that while the case bumps Yukon’s total case count to 74, it does not increase the number of active cases in the territory.

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8:45 p.m.

A shipment of about 590,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine that was delayed last week has been released to Canada.

The shipment was to have arrived in Canada on Saturday but was delayed by a backlog in Moderna’s quality assurance process.

Patricia Gauthier, Canada country manager for Moderna, says the shipment has now been released to Canadian authorities.

"Moderna can confirm that the final shipment of vaccine doses destined for Canada was released and turned over to the Government of Canada courier on March 31, meeting Moderna's full commitment to deliver two million doses in the first quarter of 2021,” said Gauthier in a written statement.

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7:55 p.m.

British Columbia is recording a new high of 1,013 daily COVID-19 cases, breaching the 100,000 mark of total cases since the pandemic began.

Health officials say in a statement that there are 7,405 active cases, 304 of whom are hospitalized, including 80 in intensive care.

Three more people have died, bringing the death toll to 1,458.

A total of 756,080 vaccine doses have been administered, 87,351 of which are second doses.

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5:30 p.m.

Alberta has recorded 871 new COVID-19 cases in its latest update, nearly 300 more than it reported a day earlier.

There have also been three additional deaths, bringing the total to 1,990.

There are 301 COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals, including 63 in intensive care.

The test positivity rate was 7.5 per cent.

Nearly 32 per cent of active cases are variants of concern.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he'll be discussing the situation with chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw tomorrow afternoon.

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5:20 p.m.

The Quebec government is moving three cities into lockdown effective Thursday following a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections.

Calling the situation alarming, Premier Francois Legault announced that schools and non-essential businesses will close and the curfew will be moved ahead to 8 p.m. in Quebec City, Levis and Gatineau. Legault says the lockdown will last for at least 10 days.

Legault is also announcing that four regions are moving from the “orange” to the “red” pandemic-alert level: the Quebec City region; Outaouais, by the border with Ontario; Chaudiere-Appalaches, south of the provincial capital; and Bas-St-Laurent, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, south of the Gaspe peninsula.

The new restrictions do not affect the Montreal area.

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3:45 p.m.

There are 191 new cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan today for a total number of 1,955 active infections.

Two people -- one in the 70-79 age group and the other in the 80-plus group -- have died.

Some 166 people are in hospital with COVID-19 and 143 of them are receiving intensive care.

The seven-day average of daily new cases is 201, which is 16.4 new cases per 100,000 population.

The province notes that variants of concern, already established in Regina and area, are beginning to rise across southern Saskatchewan, particularly in the Moose Jaw area.

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3:25 p.m.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says Indigenous people living on reserve must remain vigilant as a third wave of COVID-19 seems to be coming.

He says there were 860 COVID-19 active cases in First Nations communities as of yesterday, noting that this number is the lowest number of cases since last November.

Miller says a total of 24,768 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, 23,625 of them recovered.

He says a total of 246,675 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in 612 First Nation and territorial communities.

Miller says over 70 per cent of the population in the territories has already been vaccinated.

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2:30 p.m.

Yukon students in grades 10 to 12 in Whitehorse will soon return to classrooms.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Hanley says the territory is trying to strike that balance between COVID-19 prevention and recognition that the prevention has secondary effects, such as the impact on learning ability and mental health.

Hanley says officials have heard concerns from students about impacts to their mental health due to learning from home.

Yukon has one active case of COVID-19, bringing its total to 73.

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2:15 p.m.

Canada's top public health doctor says she expects the "crisis phase of the pandemic" will be over before the fall.

Dr. Theresa Tam says the next few weeks may be the most challenging yet, as the third resurgence of cases driven by unrelenting variants of concern means there is even less "room for errors" in our public health measures.

But she says with every week that passes, with every shipment of vaccines and with the onset of nicer weather that will allow us to do more outdoor activities safely, things are going to get easier.

By June, Tam says, every adult Canadian who wants a vaccine will get at least one dose.

And by the fall, she says, they will get their second.

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2 p.m.

New Brunswick health officials are reporting 12 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Eleven of the cases are in the Edmundston region, where circuit-breaker restrictions were imposed last week, and they are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

The other new case is in the Fredericton region and is related to travel.

The province has seen a total of 1,613 cases and 30 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, and there are now 135 active cases, with five patients in hospital, including two in intensive care.

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1:50 p.m.

Manitoba health officials say there has been one death and 70 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Screening has also identified 17 additional cases that are variants of concern.

Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force says the province’s current supply of vaccine will be used up in a week and there are some concerns long-term about delays in shipments.

The task force says a shipment of 28,000 Moderna vaccines has been delayed for at least a week.

The province is expecting 40,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine per week and 50,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine next week.

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1:45 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Health officials are also saying that a previously reported case involves the U.K. variant of the virus.

The person infected with the variant had travelled outside Canada.

Nova Scotia has 23 active reported cases — and the number of mutations now stands at 18 U.K. variant cases and 10 South African variant cases.

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1:25 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say the case involves a woman in her 40s.

The province is also reporting two more recoveries, bringing the number of active reported infections to three.

Newfoundland and Labrador has reported a total of 1,019 COVID-19 cases.

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11:20 a.m.

Ontario’s premier says new public health measures might be announced tomorrow.

Doug Ford says residents shouldn't gather over the Easter weekend as the third wave of infections sends more people to Ontario hospitals.

Data from Critical Care Services Ontario says there are more critically ill COVID-19 patients in intensive care units than at any point in the pandemic.

A daily report counted 421 patients as of midnight.

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11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,025 new cases of COVID-19 today and nine more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by two, to 485, and 120 people were in intensive care, a drop of six.

The province says over 42,000 vaccine doses were administered in the past 24 hours, for a total of 1,349,326.

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11:10 a.m.

Pfizer Canada says it will be asking Health Canada to amend the authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine to extend to children between 12 and 15 years old.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has already been approved for people as young as 16.

The initial clinical trials didn't include younger adolescents, but a follow-up trial in 2,260 kids 12 to 15 in the U.S. has been running since the fall.

The company released preliminary data from that trial Wednesday, saying none of the kids who got the vaccine developed a COVID-19 infection, compared to 18 infections among the kids who were given a placebo.

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10:40 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 2,333 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 785 new cases in Toronto, 433 in Peel Region, and 222 in York Region.

She also says there are 153 new cases in Hamilton, 124 in Ottawa and 120 in Durham Region.

Nearly 90,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Ontario since Tuesday's report.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press