The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada

By Canadian Press

The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):

7:05 p.m.

B.C. has just seven new cases of COVID-19, but one more person from a long-term care home has died.

The death toll in the province has reached 131 among the 2,360 people who have tested positive for the virus.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is asking residents to take an online survey that asks about their health in the last five months and where they’ve travelled.

The survey also offers the chance of getting a blood test to determine if the person has immunity to COVID-19.

5:45 p.m.

There are 45 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.

The province’s chief medical health officer is also reporting an additional death from the illness.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says 4,866 people have recovered and 118 have died.

The total number of cases in the province stands at 6,345.

3:45 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting five new cases of COVID-19, all in the far north.

Three of the infections are in the Beauval area and two are in La Loche, where there continues to be a major outbreak.

The northern region has the highest number of infections in the province, with 202 cases out of the total 573.

So far, 374 people have recovered from the illness and six have died.

3:10 p.m.

The Better Business Bureau says puppy scams are surging across North America as lonely people seek a companion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Better Business Bureau serving Mainland British Columbia says it and fellow organizations have received more reports about fraudulent pet sale websites in April than in the first three months of the year combined.

It says would-be owners should never purchase a pet without seeing it in person, first, and should pay close attention to websites selling puppies.

The bureau says some of the most common traits of scam websites during the pandemic are a lack of online footprint or history, inactive or unworkable social media links and a website launch date between February and April of this year.

2:20 p.m.

Woodbine Entertainment is hoping to resume horse racing next month.

CEO Jim Lawson says harness racing could resume June 5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville, Ontario, with the 2020 thoroughbred season opening the following day at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. Races would be held without spectators.

Should that not be possible, harness racing could restart June 12 with the thoroughbreds getting underway June 13.

Lawson says Woodbine will only resume racing if it’s safe to do so and the organization will continue to follow recommendations established by governmental and health authorities.

2:10 p.m.

The Canadian National Exhibition has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual summer spectacle in Toronto joins a slew of large public events sidelined by the outbreak, which also forced the cancellation of Toronto’s Pride Parade and Caribbean Carnival, the Calgary Stampede, live Canada Day events in Ottawa and music festivals across the country.

Organizers say the CNE’s annual economic impact tops $128 million for the province of Ontario and $93 million for the Greater Toronto Area. It employs more than 5,000 youth.

The Canadian National Exhibition Association said Tuesday the cancellation was “the right decision during this critical time to protect the health of all Canadians.”

2:10 p.m.

Manitoba health officials are reporting one new COVID-19 case, bringing the total to date to 290.

The new case is related to a cluster at a workplace in western Manitoba that has now reached 11 people.

Officials say there is no cause for public concern about the cluster, as affected staff and their close contacts are all self-isolating.

1:18 p.m.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is strongly recommending that Quebecers wear a mask whenever they leave home.

Legault, who wore a mask as he entered his daily briefing, says the mask can help prevent the spread of illness in situations where people can’t stay at least two metres apart.

He announced 118 more deaths in the last 24 hours, for a total of 3,131.

He said there were also 756 new cases for a total of 39,225, including 10,056 who have recovered.

12:50 p.m.

The Manitoba government is nearly doubling its funding this year for youth summer jobs under the Green Team program.

To help ensure kids can find work during the COVID-19 pandemic, funding will rise to $10 million from $5.5 million last year.

The money is given to community groups, municipalities and provincial parks to hire young people for environmentally sustainable projects.

12:45 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is announcing no new cases of COVID-19.

The province has confirmed 261 cases of the illness including 247 recoveries.

Four people are hospitalized due to the illness with one person in intensive care.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says while the virus is under control in the province’s communities, people cannot let their guards down with public health measures.

12:40 p.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada is not going to see mass gatherings or non-essential travel any time soon.

She says the new normal the country may be entering into as Canada starts reopening the economy will not look the same as it did last January.

For example, you can expect to see more Plexiglas and social-distancing measures in stores and shops once they reopen.

12:32 p.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the next phase of Canada’s COVID-19 response will involve testing people with a wider range of potential symptoms.

Until recently, the government was asking people with mild symptoms to isolate at home without receiving a test.

In order to get a better idea of who has the disease, Tam says Canada needs to start casting a wider net when it comes to who to test.

12:30 p.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam is advising extreme caution when it comes to reopening the Canada-United States border.

She says Canada needs to see what happens when it eases its own public health measures to contain the virus before allowing foreign travel again.

It will also depend on the international epidemiology.

She says Canada should be looking carefully at the United States’ COVID-19 situation before allowing cross-border travel.

12:25 p.m.

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says there are still challenges keeping Canada from reaching the lab capacity needed to properly test for COVID-19.

Canada is aiming for the capacity to test 60,000 people per day in order to test anyone with symptoms, and asymptomatic people in high-risk environments.

This week Canada is testing an average of 26,000 per day.

He says all provinces and territories are working on increasing their lab capacities though challenges, like transporting samples to the lab, remain.

12:20 p.m.

Public Health officials say there are no new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick remains at 120

The number of active cases is two and 118 people have recovered. Neither of the active cases are in the hospital.

As of today, 18,379 tests have been conducted in New Brunswick.

11:42 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will be very cautious when it comes to reopening international travel.

He would not say whether he expects the Canada-U.S. border to reopen when a mutual ban on non-essential travel expires next week.

But rather he says preventing transmission of COVID-19 into Canada from other countries will be an essential part of preventing a second wave of the outbreak.

He says Canada will need to see a decrease in the number of new cases in the country, and will need to have the ability to detect and track new cases.

11:40 a.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting only one new case of COVID-19 for the second consecutive day, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 1,020.

There are no new deaths reported, leaving the province’s total at 48.

Health officials say three licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors’ facilities still have active cases of COVID-19.

The vast majority are at the Northwood facility in Halifax where there are 157 residents and eight staff with active cases, while one other facility has one staff member with an active case of COVID-19 and another facility has one resident with an active case.

The province says 864 people have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.

11:25 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says seniors have always been a priority in the government’s COVID-19 response, despite only announcing direct financial assistance for them today.

He says from the beginning of the Canadian epidemic the government instituted public health measures to protect vulnerable seniors and provided GST tax credits.

Today he announced seniors who receive old age security will receive a one-time payment of $300, with an additional $200 for those who receive guaranteed income benefits.

11:20 a.m.

A prisoner and several human rights’ organizations have filed suit against the federal government in an effort to compel it to take steps to ensure inmate safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sean Johnston and organizations that include the Canadian Prison Law Association and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have filed a constitutional and human rights challenge against the country’s attorney general.

They say they’d like to say the release of prisoners to allow for physical distancing as well as rampant testing for inmates and correctional staff.

11:15 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious flaws in how Canada cares for seniors that governments will need to fix.

Long-term care homes have seen devastating outbreaks of the respiratory illness, including hundreds of deaths across the country.

Trudeau says the federal government will help provinces improve nursing-home care in a lasting way, once the immediate COVID-19 emergency is over.

Long-term care is a provincial responsibility.

Some advocates have called for including it in the Canada Health Act, which would likely mean big infusions of federal money in exchange for provinces’ meeting federal standards.

10:33 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 361 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 56 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 20,907 cases, including 1,725 deaths and 15,391 cases that have been resolved.

The new cases represent an increase of 1.8 per cent over the previous day.

Hospitalizations, the number of people in intensive care and those on ventilator all dropped slightly.

9:40 a.m.

An increasing number of Canadian universities are saying that classes this fall will primarily be online as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Ottawa and others have laid out broad plans for how they will handle the fall semester.

Post-secondary institutions across Canada were forced to close their campuses in March due to the COVID-19 health crisis, and rapidly shifted their classes online.

The Canadian Press

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