The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Monday, March 1, 2021

·6 min read

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

6:30 p.m.

Alberta is easing COVID-19 restrictions on indoor fitness centres and libraries.

However, it is delaying lifting measures for hotels, banquet halls, community halls and conference centres.

Premier Jason Kenney says there has been a sharp decline in hospitalizations and cases in long-term care homes.

However, he says caution is needed because the test positivity rate and cases of new, more transmissible variants are rising.

Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw says there were 291 new cases reported in the past day along with two additional deaths.

There are 257 people in hospital, including 48 in intensive care.

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5:05 p.m.

Ontario is asking the federal government for guidance on whether it can extend the interval between the first and second dose of its COVID-19 vaccines to four months.

The province is making the request today in a joint statement from Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

They say there is growing evidence to suggest that the intervals for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be safely extended.

British Columbia says today that it will extend the time between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine to four months.

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4:45 p.m.

The only Nunavut community with cases of COVID-19 has extended its state of emergency until March 9.

The community of Arviat declared a state of emergency Feb. 24 after COVID-19 cases continued to rise.

The orders include a nightly curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. says bylaw officers continue to patrol the streets 24 hours a day and four additional officers have been hired to enforce the curfew.

The state of emergency was set to expire March 2.

There are eight cases of COVID-19 in Arviat.

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4:05 p.m.

Officials say there are 154 new cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.

There are 151 people in hospital, with 21 people in intensive care.

The Ministry of Health says to date, around 79,200 vaccinations have been done.

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1:55 p.m.

British Columbia will extend the time between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine to four months, freeing up more supply to target younger age groups earlier.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines has been shown to provide “miraculous” protection of 90 per cent.

Starting next Monday, seniors aged 90 and up can call to book their appointment for a vaccine, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and over.

Henry says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine.

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1:55 p.m.

Manitoba is releasing new data that shows COVID-19 infections have disproportionately impacted Indigenous and Black people, as well as other people of colour in the province.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, says it’s largely linked to pre-existing inequities like housing and employment.

There was one more death and 35 more cases of the novel coronavirus Monday.

Manitoba vaccines became available for the general population last week depending on age.

Roussin says the age has now expanded for people born in 1930 and earlier and First Nations people born in 1950 and earlier.

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1:40 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say the case involves a person in their 30s in the Miramichi region.

There are 36 active reported cases in the province and two people are hospitalized with the disease, both in intensive care.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick since the onset of the pandemic is 1,431 and there have been 27 deaths.

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12:50 p.m.

York Region says it registered 20,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments within two hours of opening its booking system to the public today.

It’s one of several Ontario regions offering shots to residents aged 80 and older, weeks ahead of the scheduled start of the larger, provincewide campaign for that age group.

Hamilton is warning of long wait times on its phone lines as clinics for residents 85 and older begin.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph is encouraging eligible people to book vaccine appointments online as its phone line is at capacity.

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12:45 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say both cases are close contacts of previously reported infections and involve people under 20 years old.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says both cases are in the eastern health region, where officials have been battling an outbreak in St. John’s.

The Avalon region, which includes the capital, remains under lockdown, while the rest of the province has moved to the less restrictive alert level four.

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12:40 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say the new case is in the Halifax area and involves a close contact of a previously reported infection.

Officials say two people are in hospital with the disease and both are in intensive care. Nova Scotia has 35 active reported infections.

As of Sunday, the province had administered 32,856 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 12,845 people having received a booster shot.

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12:15 p.m.

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

The new case is in the western Hudson Bay community of Arviat, the only place in Nunavut with active known COVID-19 cases.

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Arviat is on the right track to contain the spread.

Arviat has been under a strict lockdown since November, with all schools and non-essential businesses closed. There are eight active reported cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, all in Arviat.

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11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 613 new cases of COVID-19 today and six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one within the past 24 hours.

Health officials say hospitalizations rose by 11, to 612, while the number of people in intensive care rose by five, to 122.

Officials say 6,308 doses of vaccine were administered Sunday, for a total of 438,815.

Quebec has reported a total of 288,353 COVID-19 infections and 10,399 deaths linked to the virus.

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10:40 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 1,023 new cases of COVID-19 today and six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says of the new cases, 280 are in Toronto, 182 are in Peel Region and 72 are in Ottawa.

Ontario says 939 more cases were resolved since the last daily report.

More than 17,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province since Sunday's update.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press