The latest news on COVID 19 developments in Canada for Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

·6 min read

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

7:30 p.m.

B.C. is reporting another 429 cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths, bringing to 1,218 the number of fatalities linked to the infection.

A joint statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix says there's an encouraging downward trend in the COVID-19 curve.

It says the efforts residents are making, in combination with the immunization of long-term care residents and workers, is making a difference.

It says not only is the spread of COVID-19 starting to slow, but B.C. is also better positioned to deal with the uncertainties of the new and faster-spreading COVID variants.

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5:45 p.m.

Alberta is continuing to see lower numbers of new COVID-19 cases.

It is reporting 268 new infections and 13 deaths due to the virus.

However, the province says it has detected a total of 57 COVID-19 variants originating from the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw says eight of the variant cases have no links to travel.

She also says four variant cases have been linked to an outbreak at a daycare.

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5:20 p.m.

Quebec is reopening stores, personal care salons and museums across the province next week, following a steady drop in infections and hospitalizations.

Premier Francois Legault said today that he is also moving six, less-populated regions in Quebec to the lower orange pandemic alert level.

In-person dining, gyms and indoor sports can resume in those six regions, including the Saguenay area north of Quebec City.

Legault says the provincewide curfew in those six regions will be pushed back to 9:30 p.m. from 8 p.m., but will remain at 8 p.m. for everywhere else, including the Montreal and Quebec City areas.

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3:35 p.m.

Saskatchewan says it has found two cases of a COVID-19 variant.

Health officials announced the U.K. strain has been found in two Regina residents.

The Ministry of Health says one of the people had recently travelled from the United Kingdom, and the second person was a close contact.

The province says they followed the quarantine measures and their contacts have also been identified, so they don't believe there has been any further transmission.

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2:45 p.m.

The Northwest Territories says a delay in shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Canada means the territory will receive fewer doses than expected this month.

Health Minister Julie Green says the territory was to get 7,200 Moderna doses this week, but will receive 4,700 instead.

Green says the federal government has also told her a shipment expected in mid-February will also be reduced.

The Northwest Territories' chief public health officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, says while the delay is disappointing, the territory's vaccine rollout plan is flexible and changes will only be felt in the short term.

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2:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting one new case of COVID-19 and now has 10 active infections.

Health officials say the new case is in the Halifax area and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

Two people are currently in hospital, including one in intensive care.

As of Monday, 15,165 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 2,954 people having received their second dose as required.

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2 p.m.

Public health officials in New Brunswick say the U.K. variant of COVID-19 has been identified in the province.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says lab tests have confirmed two cases of the variant in the Saint John region and one in the Miramichi area.

Officials are also reporting 25 new infections today – 24 of which are in the Edmundston region, which has been under lockdown for more than one week.

Russell says 19 of cases in hard-hit Edmundston have been identified at a retirement home.

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1:10 p.m.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says there are signs of community spread of COVID-19 variants in several provinces.

Tam says 148 cases of the mutations that first emerged in the United Kingdom and South Africa have been confirmed across the country, even as overall coronavirus case counts continue to decline.

The country’s top doctor says that provincial officials should be very cautious about relaxing safety measures, as the U.K. and South African strains are highly contagious.

Tam says the variants' arrival in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia means health authorities need to ramp up their testing capacity.

The single case of the South African variant confirmed in Ontario and the four cases identified in B.C. have no known link to international travel, raising fears of community spread.

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12 p.m.

Ontario says supply delays mean it won't meet its goal of giving all nursing-home residents the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Friday.

The province says it will now take until Feb. 10 to give the first shot to all long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations eldercare home residents.

The government says it expects to receive about 80 per cent fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine over the first two weeks of this month.

It says shipments are set to return nearly to previously expected levels starting Feb. 15.

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11:25 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government has inked a deal that will see COVID-19 vaccines churned out on home soil.

Trudeau says the federal government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Novavax to start producing immunization doses at the U.S. company’s Royalmount facility in Montreal.

The Novavax vaccine is currently under review by Health Canada and, if approved, would eventually leave Canada less reliant on foreign production for the most sought-after product in the world.

Trudeau also says the government is investing $25 million in Vancouver-based Precision NanoSystems to build a manufacturing centre, with the ultimate goal of producing up to 240 million vaccine doses per year.

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11:20 a.m.

Ontario's daily COVID-19 case count is lower than expected because of a data issue.

Ontario is reporting 745 new cases of the virus today, which it says does not include data from Toronto as the city transfers its information to the provincial database system.

The Ministry of Health says it anticipates fluctuations in case numbers over the next few days as the databases are reconciled.

Ontario also says that case counts for other public health units might have been affected by system outages related to the migration.

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11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,053 new COVID-19 infections and 38 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including seven in the previous 24 hours.

The numbers come ahead of an evening news conference during which Premier François Legault is expected to ease restrictions across the province.

Health officials said today hospitalizations dropped by 34, to 1,110, and 178 people were in intensive care, a drop of five.

Quebec has reported a total of 264,526 cases and 9,862 deaths linked to the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press