The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Monday, Jan. 25, 2021

·6 min read

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

6:30 p.m.

British Columbia's top doctor says the province is extending the interval at which people receive their second and final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says further delays in the production and delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have prompted B.C. health officials to extend the time period between the two shots from 35 days to 42.

Henry provided an update on B.C.'s vaccine supply on Monday while reporting 26 more deaths linked to the illness and 1,344 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed over the last three days.

She says the curve of the outbreak in B.C. has plateaued around 500 cases each day, which is too many, particularly if transmission of several faster-spreading variants of the illness increases in the province.

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6:05 p.m.

A third-party report examining how the British Columbia government responded to COVID-19 in long-term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic reveals confusion over policies and infection prevention.

The report, by Ernst & Young, says specific policy orders from the provincial health officer were interpreted differently by health authorities and there were gaps in infection prevention and control as well as emergency preparedness.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said last week that the report presented an "overwhelmingly favourable" review of the government's response and that the report's recommendations had been implemented.

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3:40 p.m.

There was a parliamentary pile-on in Ottawa today as MPs of all parties blasted the Liberal government for what they say is a botched approach to rolling out vaccines.

Several pointed to claims by the Ontario government that they are running out of doses, but federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand hit back against that claim.

She says Ontario has at least 100,000 doses it hasn't used so far, so the claim it's run out is simply inaccurate.

Anand says the delays this week in receiving Pfizer-BioNTech doses won't knock the government off its goal of getting all Canadians a vaccine who want one by September.

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3:15 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 240 new cases of COVID-19.

Health officials say another resident has died, a senior who was 80 and older.

The Ministry of Health reports 202 people as being in hospital because of the virus, with 32 patients receiving intensive care.

So far, the province has given more than 33,000 shots of vaccine.

Officials say the pace of shots is starting to slow because the province is running low on doses.

The province expects to use its last ones this week.

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2:05 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting another COVID-related death, bringing the total number of deaths in the province attributed to COVID-19 to 14.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the newest death involved a resident in their 70s who lived at a long-term care facility in Saint John.

She says another recently deceased resident of that facility who was COVID-positive died for reasons unrelated to the novel coronavirus.

New Brunswick is reporting another 27 new infections today.

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2 p.m.

Public health units in Ontario are beefing up infection control measures after detecting a more contagious strain of COVID-19 in their regions.

Toronto Public Health is asking congregate care, educational and other group settings to review their COVID-19 protocols as the U.K. variant appears in the region.

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Health has found a case of the variant and is advising anyone who recently travelled outside the region to consider taking an asymptomatic COVID-19 test.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health has confirmed at least seven cases of the variant and it’s increasing testing at long-term care homes dealing with outbreaks that are suspected to have cases of the new strain.

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1:40 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting 113 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths.

More than half the cases are in the province's north.

The provincial government says it may have to postpone some second-dose vaccine appointments soon, as a result of the disruptions to the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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1:05 p.m.

Nunavut is reporting two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the territory's active case count to 17.

All of the new cases are in Arviat, a community of about 2,800 people and the centre of Nunavut's original COVID-19 outbreak.

The community, and territory, had been COVID-free since Jan. 2.

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says it's still unclear if the new cases in Arviat are connected to the original outbreak or came from outside the community.

There have been 280 cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut since the start of the pandemic.

To date, 4,458 people have received first doses of the Moderna vaccine in Nunavut.

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11:25 a.m.

Ontario is pausing COVID-19 vaccinations of long-term care staff and essential caregivers so it can focus on administering shots to all nursing home residents amid a shortage of doses.

The province is currently dealing with a delay in deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with no shots of that vaccine expected to arrive this week.

The government says the shift in vaccination focus means all long-term care residents, high-risk retirement home residents and First Nations elder care residents will get their first dose of vaccine by Feb. 5.

That's sooner than the previous goal of Feb. 15, but the earlier plan had included the vaccination of long-term care staff and caregivers.

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11 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,203 new cases of COVID-19 and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Health officials said today hospitalizations dropped by six, to 1,321, and 217 people were in intensive care, a decrease of two.

Hospitalizations have decreased by 179 over the past six reporting periods.

Quebec has reported 254,836 infections and 9,521 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, with 228,887 cases considered recovered.

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10:35 a.m.

There are 1,958 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ontario today and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 727 of the new cases are in Toronto, 365 in Peel Region, and 157 in York Region.

She says nearly 36,000 tests were completed since Sunday's report.

Ontario also reports that 2,448 more cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press