The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

·7 min read

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

6:30 p.m.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there are encouraging signs that efforts by residents are paying off, with another daily infection rate under 500.

However, that won't change Henry's decision to indefinitely leave restrictions in place in an attempt to suppress COVID-19 infections before wide-scale vaccinations begin.

There were 471 new cases and six more deaths on Friday.

Almost 150,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and more than 10,000 of those have been second shots.

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5:40 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19 variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa.

That brings the variant total in the province to 78.

In all, the government says there are 396 new infections and nine additional deaths.

There are 475 people in hospital with the virus and 89 of those are in intensive care.

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5:30 p.m.

Whistler residents and visitors are being told to take extra care to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Vancouver Coastal Health says there have been 547 cases in Whistler between Jan. 1 and Feb. 2, most of them linked to people in their 20s and 30s who work, live and socialize together.

The authority says in a statement that contact tracing shows there's very little transmission linked to outdoor recreation areas, such as Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

No deaths have been linked to the Whistler infections, although two people were briefly hospitalized for symptoms.

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3:40 p.m.

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

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the latest case involves a man in his 60s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada.

Morrison says, however, that the man is a resident of another part of Canada and that his case will not be counted in P.E.I.'s official case count.

Prince Edward Island has three active reported COVID-19 infections.

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2:50 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 269 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths.

Health officials say there are 224 people in hospital, 28 of whom are in intensive care.

The province says it's back to receiving vaccine shipments and on Thursday gave more than 2,000 jabs.

So far, officials have administered more than 38,000 vaccine doses to health-care workers and seniors.

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1:45 p.m.

Manitoba has reported one additional death — a woman in her 40s — related to COVID-19.

Officials also reported 110 new cases of the virus for a total of 3,353 active cases.

There are 115 Manitobans in hospital with active COVID-19 and another 154 people in hospital who are no longer considered infectious but continue to need care.

A total of 40 people are in intensive care units due to the novel coronavirus.

There has been a total of 838 people in Manitoba who have died from COVID-19.

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1:40 p.m.

British Columbia has identified 10 new cases of COVID-19 involving variants of concern since Monday, bringing the total identified in the province to 28.

The Health Ministry says there are now 19 cases involving the strain first identified in the United Kingdom and nine cases of the South African strain.

One of the new cases involving the South African variant was picked up through international travel and the other new cases of both variants were transmitted locally.

The ministry’s modelling shows stable or declining trends in overall cases and test positivity rates across the province, but it also suggests infections will climb rapidly if physical contact increases to 60 per cent of normal.

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1:35 p.m.

Nova Scotia has eight active cases of COVID-19 after reporting no new cases today.

Health officials say two people are currently in hospital, including one in intensive care.

As of Thursday, 17,295 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

Officials say 4,681 people have received their required second dose of vaccine.

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1 p.m.

Canada's top doctor is urging Canadians to enjoy the Super Bowl this Sunday without the superspreader.

Dr. Theresa Tam says like many events and celebrations during the pandemic, it's important to limit in-person contacts and she's suggesting football fans connect with others virtually to watch the big game.

Tam says the active COVID-19 case count across Canada is down 30 per cent from a week ago and that hospitalizations and deaths are trending down, too.

But she says active cases are still double what they were at the peak of the first wave in the spring and the easing of restrictions must be done gradually and cautiously.

She adds new, more transmissible variants of the virus are also cause for concern.

Tam says so far, 242 cases of the variant first identified in the United Kingdom and 13 cases of the one first found in South Africa have been detected in Canada.

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12:55 p.m.

Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting one new case of COVID-19.

They say the person involved is a woman in her 50s who is a close contact of a previously identified infection.

Authorities say there are now 14 active reported infections in the province.

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12:45 p.m.

Premier Doug Ford will announce details on reopening Ontario's economy next week, according to the province's labour minister.

Monte McNaughton did not provide further specifics, but his comments come as the province's current state of emergency is set to expire on Tuesday.

Ford and his cabinet were set to meet Friday to discuss the government's options surrounding the emergency order.

Ontario’s Solicitor General’s office said no decisions have been made regarding whether to end or extend the emergency order.

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12:18 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is supposed to get its 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca before the end of June.

Health Canada is expected to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in Canada next week and Trudeau says he believes the 20 million doses Canada pre-ordered from the company will be delivered before Canada Day.

Those doses would double the number of Canadians who could be vaccinated in the spring, from 10 million with existing vaccines to 20 million with those and AstraZeneca's vaccine.

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12:15 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting seven new cases of COVID-19.

Health officials say five of the new cases are in the Edmundston region, which remains under lockdown, and the two other cases are in Moncton and Fredericton.

Officials say the province has 228 active reported cases and that six people are hospitalized with the disease, including three in intensive care.

New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,325 infections and 18 COVID-related deaths.

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11:20 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,101 COVID-19 infections and 33 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials say the number of hospitalizations dropped by 30 to 1,040, and 168 people were in intensive care, a drop of seven.

Officials say 4,140 doses of vaccine were administered yesterday, for a total of 248,673.

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10:40 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 1,670 cases of COVID-19 today, but public health officials say that number is likely overestimated.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health says 125 of them are older infections from Toronto that weren't previously recorded by the province.

Public health officials have said that updates to the provincial case database are causing fluctuations in this week's tallies.

Ontario is also counting 45 deaths linked to COVID-19 today.

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10:10 a.m.

The Canadian Forces are being sent to a remote First Nation in Manitoba to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the army is being sent to Pauingassi First Nation.

The community is 280 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press