The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada on Dec. 17, 2020

·7 min read

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

8:45 p.m.

Yukon is tightening its COVID-19 restrictions, requiring patrons at bars and restaurants to provide contact information and ordering children aged five and over to start wearing masks on school buses starting Jan. 4.

There have been 59 confirmed cases in Yukon, although 57 of those have recovered.

Yukon's Health Minister Pauline Frost said this week that the Moderna vaccine, if approved by Health Canada, could arrive in the territory as early as this month.

A statement from the territory urges residents to respect restrictions as the holiday season approaches and to stick to their small social bubbles.

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7 p.m.

British Columbia's death toll due to COVID-19 has surpassed 700 and has doubled in just weeks.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says another 21 people have died, most of them seniors.

There are 673 new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 44,776 since the pandemic started.

Henry says there have been community outbreaks at a Surrey poultry plant where 30 employees tested positive and at Diversified Transportation connected to 15 employees at an LNG Canada worksite in Kitimat.

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5:45 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 30 new deaths from COVID-19, a grim new daily record for the province.

It also says there have been 1,571 new infections.

There are 763 people in hospital with the virus, with 138 of those in intensive care.

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4:10 p.m.

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer says the province’s COVID-19 caseload seems to be plateauing.

Dr. Saqib Shahab says it’s cause for optimism in the province’s fight against the virus.

Health officials say the health system is still strained and urged people to keep following public health advice over the holidays.

Since the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived Tuesday, officials say around 250 health-care workers in Regina have been inoculated with a first dose.

Another 300 vaccinations were scheduled for Thursday.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it plans to start giving health-care workers in Saskatoon their first dose next week.

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2:35 p.m.

Saskatchewan has more than 100 people who have died from COVID-19, with seven more deaths reported.

Health officials say those who died were 40 and older, with five of them 80 and older.

The province's pandemic death toll now sits at 105.

Another 238 cases of COVID-19 were reported and officials say 126 people are in hospital.

Health officials announced in a news release the isolation period for people positive with COVID-19 is now 10 days, down from 14.

They did not provide an explanation for the change.

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2:35 p.m.

Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting six new cases of COVID-19.

Officials say as of Thursday, 20 cases have been confirmed in an outbreak at a Shannex residential facility in Saint John.

Also as of Thursday, 13 cases have been confirmed in an outbreak at the Edmundston Regional Hospital.

The province has 55 active cases of COVID-19 with three people in hospital, including two in intensive care.

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2 p.m.

Manitoba health officials are reporting 221 new COVID-19 cases and 14 additional deaths.

Daily case counts are on a downward trend in the wake of restrictions that were imposed in November on public gatherings and business openings.

Health officials say intensive care bed usage remains 50 per cent above normal pre-pandemic levels.

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1:40 p.m.

Nunavut is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

There are 37 cases in Nunavut, all in Arviat, a community of about 2,800 on the coast of Hudson Bay.

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson urged Nunavummiut to keep following public health orders.

Patterson says while Nunavut waits for its first doses of the Moderna vaccine, residents should remain vigilant and remember that COVID-19 is here for the long term.

So far, 222 cases have recovered in the territory.

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1:25 p.m.

A new field hospital being set up on Edmonton's University of Alberta campus will be operational by January, but Health Minister Tyler Shandro says it remains a last-ditch contingency.

Shandro says the temporary 100-bed facility would only be necessary if current hospital limits, including creating up to 2,250 beds for COVID-19 patients, are reached.

The project is being done with help from the Canadian Red Cross and is being set it up inside the Universiade Pavilion.

The cavernous, multi-purpose sports facility, just south of the downtown, is better known as the Butterdome given its rectangular shape and yellow exterior.

If necessary, the field hospital is to be used for non-critical patients and patients who are recovering from COVID-19 but are at low risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus.

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1:05 p.m.

There are three new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Health officials say the source of all three infections is still under investigation.

All three cases affect people in the eastern region of the province, and all patients are self-isolating.

Newfoundland and Labrador has 24 active cases of COVID-19, with 367 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic.

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11:45 a.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting one new case of COVID-19.

The case involves a man in his 30s who travelled to the Island from outside Atlantic Canada.

P.E.I. is also easing lockdown restrictions starting Friday.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said today limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings will be increased to members of a household plus ten more people.

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11:30 a.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting six new cases of COVID-19, three of which are in the Halifax area.

Health officials said today of the three Halifax cases, one involves a close contact of a previously reported case, one is travel related and the third is under investigation.

The province says two cases in the western health zone are travel related, and says the sixth case is located in the northern zone and involves a contact of a previously reported case.

Authorities say no one is hospitalized with the disease and the province has 50 active cases of COVID-19.

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11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,855 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials said today 1,002 people were in hospital with COVID-19, a rise of 27 from the previous day. Of those, 134 people were in intensive care, a rise of six.

The province says 969 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of people vaccinated in the province to 2,582.

Quebec has reported a total of 171,028 COVID-19 infections and 7,635 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

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10:50 a.m.

Ontario's hospitals are calling for new, stricter lockdowns in hard-hit regions to halt the rapid spread of COVID-19.

The Ontario Hospital Association's board of directors is making the request to the province after holding an emergency meeting on hospital capacity amid surging infections.

It is asking the government to implement a four-week lockdown in every public health unit that has an infection rate of 40 cases per 100,000 people or higher.

The association says the move is necessary to protect people and ensure that hospitals do not face a surge in COVID-19 patients in January.

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10:45 a.m.

Ontario is reporting a single-day record of 2,432 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said today there are 737 new cases in Toronto, 434 in Peel Region, 209 in York Region, 190 in Windsor-Essex and 142 in Hamilton.

The province says it has conducted 58,178 tests since the last daily report.

In total, 919 people are hospitalized in Ontario with COVID-19, including 263 in intensive care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press