The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Thursday, March 11, 2021

·7 min read

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

5:55 p.m.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it's dropping the eligible age for seniors to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments to 80, down from 85.

Thursday was the launch of the province's booking system, announced after people raised concerns about waiting to be contacted by public health to receive their shots.

The health authority says around 4,300 appointments were made by phone or online.

It was only open to residents 85 and older, but the authority says the age will drop to 80, starting Friday, after a successful first-day rollout.


5:50 p.m.

Yukon’s chief medical officer of health is warning residents to avoid all non-essential travel during the upcoming March break to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Brendan Hanley says in a statement that non-essential travel out of Yukon is not recommended, and those who do so will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

He says the designated quarantine facility in Whitehorse is not available for those who travel for recreation, entertainment or tourism purposes.


5:30 p.m.

Alberta has recorded 364 new COVID-19 infections and five more deaths.

Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw says about four per cent of tests in the past day came back positive.

There are 259 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 38 in intensive care.

The province also reported 41 more variant cases over the past day, bringing its total to 775.


5:30 p.m.

British Columbia's provincial health officer is allowing up to 10 people to meet outdoors after nearly four months of restrictions that barred social gatherings between people from different households.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says restrictions on indoor gatherings and rules for restaurants, bars, retail stores and other venues remain in place.

She says while the infection curve of the pandemic is trending down on Vancouver Island and in the Interior and Northern health regions, COVID-19 is still circulating in communities, particularly in the Lower Mainland.

Henry announced 569 new cases today and three more deaths, pushing the death toll in the province to 1,397.

More than 360,000 doses of COVID-19 have been administered in the province so far.


3:05 p.m.

Health officials in Saskatchewan announced another 165 new cases of COVID-19.

In Regina, the Ministry of Health reports an increase in community transmission of variants of concern.

To date, many of the cases connected to the B.1.1.7 strain, first detected in the United Kingdom, have been found in and around the capital city.

There are 137 people in hospital with COVID-19 provincewide, with 27 in intensive care.

Officials say so far, the province has given nearly 96,000 doses of vaccine.


1:35 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting three COVID-19 deaths and 91 new cases.

However, three cases from unspecified dates have been removed due to data corrections, bringing the net increase to 88.


1:15 p.m.

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

The case involves a man in his 50s in the eastern region, where officials beat back an outbreak that spread through the metro region last month.

Officials say the outbreak initially spread through high school students, ultimately affecting at least 185 staff and students in 22 different schools.

The Department of Education announced today that St. John’s-area schools will reopen next week for students in kindergarten through Grade 9, but remote learning will continue for high school students across the province.


1:05 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say the two cases are in the Moncton area.

Officials are also announcing that starting today, residents aged 85 and older can set up COVID-19 vaccine appointments at pharmacies, which will begin administering doses March 17.

New Brunswick has 34 active reported cases of the disease.


11:30 a.m.

Edmonton’s mayor says flags on municipal buildings will fly at half-mast to honour those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Don Iveson says the city’s iconic High Level Bridge across the North Saskatchewan River will be lit in white to mark the national day of observance.

There have 810 deaths from COVID-19 recorded in the Alberta capital, which has a population of just under a million people.

Nearly 2,000 people have died from COVID-19 across the province.


11:15 a.m.

Ontario reported 1,092 new cases of COVID-19 today and has surpassed a million total vaccine doses administered.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 293 new cases are in Toronto, 199 are in Peel Region, and 79 are in York Region.

More than 40,000 vaccine doses were administered since Wednesday's update, taking Ontario past the million-dose milestone.

Ten more deaths were linked to the virus in Ontario.


11 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 738 new COVID-19 cases and 15 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including three in the past 24 hours.

Health officials said today hospitalizations dropped by 18, to 563, and 111 people were in intensive care, a drop of one.

Officials say they administered 18,659 vaccine doses on Wednesday, for a total of 619,060.

Quebec has reported a total of 295,390 COVID-19 cases and 10,518 deaths linked to the virus; there are 7,134 active reported infections in the province.


10:35 a.m.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet is using a white rose in the House of Commons to remember those who have died from COVID-19 over the past year.

Blanchet is also calling for Canada to address the inequality and shortcomings in the national health-care system that were exposed during the pandemic.

He is also marking the sacrifices of health-care and other front-line workers, many of whom are women.


10:20 a.m.

Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is using an address in the House of Commons marking the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by listing the many ways in which Canadians have suffered over the past year.

He's also criticizing the Liberal government for what he describes as the slow pace of vaccinations to date.

O'Toole says many Canadians have lost their jobs over the past year, while many others are struggling with mental-health challenges, domestic violence and opioid addictions.

The Conservative leader says most Canadians remain unsure when they will get vaccinated, and Canada must learn from the past 12 months and ensure the country is not caught by surprise again in the future.


10:10 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is marking the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic by remembering the more than 20,000 people who have died from the illness.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Trudeau also praised the health-care workers, military personnel and others who have stepped up over the last year to help Canadians through the pandemic.

The prime minister describes the past 12 months as "a tough year, a heartbreaking year, but it is a year we have faced together."


10 a.m.

U.S.-based vaccine maker Moderna says it has now started giving doses of a B.1.351 COVID-19 variant booster shot to 60 people who have already been vaccinated with the company's original shot.

The phase two trial is testing various combinations, including two different sizes of doses of just the booster shot that has adjusted the original vaccine to account for the changes seen in the variant first identified in South Africa.

A third version combines both the original vaccine and the booster shot, attempting to see if one jab can cover the original virus and the new variant.

Lab tests showed Moderna's original vaccine did produce antibodies when put up against multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, but the level of response against B.1.351 was as much as six times less than that against the original virus.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press