The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Monday, March 29

·7 min read
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Monday, March 29

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

5:40 p.m.

British Columbia health officials announced 2,518 new COVID-19 cases over three days on Monday, for a total of 98,165 since the pandemic began last year.

Six more people died from COVID-19, bringing the B.C. death toll to 1,455.

The number of vaccine shots given sits at 699,092 and among those, 87,289 are second doses.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is following national advice to pause Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccinations for people younger than 55.

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5:25 p.m.

British Columbia is introducing new restrictions for the next three weeks amid surging COVID-19 cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says indoor dining will be prohibited, but takeout and patio service will be allowed as part of the new rules effective from midnight through April 19.

She is prohibiting indoor group fitness and closing the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort, and announced new support for mask-wearing in schools for grades 4 through 12.

Henry also reversed a recent decision to allow indoor faith gatherings, adding she is doing so with a heavy heart but can't in good conscience allow them to proceed given the risk.

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5 p.m.

Alberta reported 545 new cases of COVID-19, with 288 people in hospital, 64 of whom are in intensive care.

There were 249 more cases of variants of concern and the variants now make up 27 per cent of active cases.

There were no new deaths reported, leaving that total at 1,983.

Alberta has administered 608,000 doses of COVID vaccine so far.

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5 p.m.

Alberta is following the advice of the national immunization committee and will pause giving Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to those under 55 given concerns of blood clots in recipients in Europe.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says there have been no reports of such blood clot complications.

About 900 Albertans under 55 have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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4:55 p.m.

Saskatchewan says it's following national advice to hold off on giving people younger than 55 shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

It says most of the 15,000 doses given to date have gone into the arms of people 58 and older who went through a drive-thru vaccination clinic in Regina.

Some younger health-care workers have also received these shots.

The province says it has fewer than 100 doses of AstraZeneca left, but another 46,600 are expected to arrive this week from the United States.

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4:30 p.m.

Health officials say there are no new COVID-19 deaths in Saskatchewan today, but there are 202 new cases -- exactly half of those in Regina, where variants of concern have been spreading.

Some 1,978 cases are considered active and 162 people are in hospital, 25 of them in intensive care.

The seven-day average of daily new cases is 199.

The total number of vaccines administered in the province so far sits at 179,800.

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4:20 p.m.

Ontario’s top doctor says the province will “pause” use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 55 years or younger.

The decision comes after the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations recommended against using the AstraZeneca vaccine for the age group.

Ontario’s chief medical officers says, thus far, the province has not given that vaccine to anyone younger than 60 years old in Ontario.

Dr. David Williams says the province will await further guidance from the federal government before making any decision to lift the pause.

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4:05 p.m.

Health Canada is asking AstraZeneca to do a full analysis of the risks of its vaccine across all age groups and genders, following additional reports of patients in Europe developing blood clots.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, says there have been no blood clots reported in Canada to date and still believes the vaccine's benefits outweigh the risks.

However, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says it is recommending that no province or territory use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on any adult under the age of 55 pending the outcome of that review.

Dr. Shelley Deeks, the vice-chair of NACI, says the risk of blood clots from data in Europe is now potentially as high as one in 100,000, much higher than the one in one million risk believed before.

She says most of the patients in Europe who developed a rare blood clot after vaccination with AstraZeneca were women under the age of 55, and the fatality rate is as high as 40 per cent.

Because the risk of blood clots has been found mainly in younger patients, and the risk of COVID-19 is much higher for older adults, NACI is not recommending the AstraZeneca vaccine be suspended for patients over the age of 55.

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4 p.m.

Following national advice, Newfoundland and Labrador is suspending the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in people under 55.

Health officials say about 4,000 people in the province have received a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and another 2,880 doses are waiting to be used.

The province had been administering the vaccine to first responders, but officials said today the remaining doses will be used in people over 55.

Officials say though the risk of complications is extremely low, anyone under 55 who got an AstraZeneca dose will be contacted by public health.

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2:05 p.m.

Manitoba is announcing 53 new cases of COVID-19 as health officials say they are watching a concerning rise in variants of concern.

There have been 136 more cases of the variants detected.

The province is also expanding vaccine eligibility to people aged 64 and older and First Nation people aged 44 and older.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, says Manitoba is also limiting the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to people between the ages of 55 and 64 as more information is being sought around some adverse symptoms in younger people noticed in the United Kingdom.

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1:30 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say the cases are in the Edmundston region, in the northwestern part of the province.

New Brunswick has 120 active reported cases of COVID-19 and four patients in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care.

The province has reported a total of 1,588 COVID-19 infections and 30 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

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11:20 a.m.

Prince Edward Island has suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for those aged 18 to 29 who had appointments for shots in pharmacies.

Health officials said in a brief statement the appointments are on hold pending further information expected today from Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

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11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 891 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including two in the past 24 hours.

Health officials say that while hospitalizations dropped by three to 477, the number of patients requiring intensive care rose by six to 120.

The province administered 38,801 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday and has vaccinated 14.9 per cent of the population with a first dose.

Since the pandemic began, Quebec has reported 309,202 COVID-19 infections and 10,651 deaths.

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10:40 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 2,094 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 618 new cases in Toronto.

She also says there are 368 new cases in Peel Region, 277 in York Region, 132 in Ottawa and 104 in Durham Region.

More than 50,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Ontario since Sunday's daily report.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2021

The Canadian Press