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The latest news on COVID 19 developments in Canada for Thursday, Dec. 11

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

7:04 p.m.

British Columbia has added another 737 cases to its COVID-19 total.

Eleven more people died, bringing the province's surging death toll to 598.

A joint statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix says a community outbreak has been declared at the Regent Christian Academy.

Fraser Health says at least 30 people tested positive for COVID-19 at the private school and it remains closed until after the winter break.

The statement says there are 9,589 active cases in the province, while 342 people are in hospital.


5:41 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 1,738 new cases of COVID-19.

It also says there have been 18 new deaths related to the virus, bringing the grim death total in the province to 684.

The province says 684 people are in hospital with COVID-19, and 123 of those are in intensive care.

Alberta continues to have the highest rate of new daily cases in the country.


2:44 p.m.

Officials are reporting 246 new cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.

The Ministry of Health says 133 people are in hospital, and 27 people receiving intensive care.

The province's average for daily cases sits at 282.


1:53 p.m.

Ontario is moving Windsor-Essex and York Region into lockdown.

The province says the move is being made to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that schools can stay open and hospital capacity can be protected. 

The province says the lockdowns will take effect on Monday.

The government says it will also impose new restrictions on five other regional health units.


1:48 p.m.

Manitoba’s top doctor says the provincial death rate from COVID-19 has increased by more than nine times since Thanksgiving.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, announced 447 more infections and 14 deaths today.

Roussin says First Nations people now make up one in 10 of the daily reported deaths, as well as half of current hospitalizations.

Roussin discouraged people from gathering with anyone outside their household during the holidays, saying the number of infections remains too high.

The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 13.8 per cent in Manitoba.


1:47 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador public health officials are reporting one new case of COVID-19 and say there are 20 active cases in the province.

Chief public health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says the province is now asking all residents of Harbour Breton to book a test for COVID-19 as three cases of the disease have been recently identified in the community.

Health Minister John Haggie says the first shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine will arrive early next week, allowing public health staff to create a vaccination program within 48 hours.


12:45 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19 and now has 65 active cases.

Five of the cases are in the Halifax area with two related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, one a close contact of a previously reported case, and one case under investigation.

A school-based case was also identified at Shannon Park Elementary in Dartmouth.

Three cases were also reported in the western health zone with another reported in the northern zone.


12:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the border closure for another 30 days.

The Canada-U. S. border, which has been closed to non-essential travel since March, will remain closed until at least Jan. 21

Trudeau also says Canada is working to roll out the biggest immunization campaign in the history of the country, but Canadians still need to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

He says a vaccine next month – or even next week – won’t help anyone who gets COVID-19 today.

He says winter will be difficult and Canadians will need to keep making sacrifices, but front-line health workers are long-term care home staff are exhausted and need everyone to keep doing their part.


11:35 a.m.

P.E.I. health officials say they will begin vaccinating front-line workers and long-term care staff against COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says she expects the first shipment of more than 1,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to arrive in the province early next week.

The first clinic will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

The province reported no new COVID-19 cases today.


11:2 5 a.m.

The Northwest Territories is reporting five new cases of COVID-19, all in Yellowknife.

Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola says four cases are in the same household and are related to travel outside the territory.
The other case is related to international travel.

Anyone self-isolating since Nov. 30 is asked to get tested after a wastewater surveillance program found undetected COVID-19 in Yellowknife.

The N.W.T. has five active cases and 15 recovered cases of COVID-19.


11:20 a.m.

Health Canada has not yet approved Moderna’s version of the COVID-19 vaccine, but Canada’s chief public health officer says the federal government is already including it in its distribution plan.

Dr. Theresa Tam says that like the Pfizer vaccine approved this week, doses will be distributed across Canada on a per-capita basis.

But territories said they would prefer to skip out on the first shipment of Pfizer vaccine, due to how fragile it is and how complicated to deliver to remote communities.

So Tam says they will receive a greater proportion of Moderna’s vaccine to make up for that gap and also to avoid having to travel to remote communities more frequently than needed.


11:10 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 53 additional deaths linked to COVID-19 as well as 1,713 new infections in its latest figures.

The Health Department says six of the deaths occurred in the previous 24 hours, 36 occurred between Dec. 4 and Dec. 9 and the others were at earlier or unknown dates.

Hospitalizations rose to 871, an increase of 23, and there were 10 more patients in intensive care, for a total of 123.

Premier Francois Legault and Health Minister Christian Dube will hold a news conference this afternoon in Quebec City.


11 a.m.

Nunavut is reporting 16 new cases of COVID-19.

All are in the community of Arviat, bringing the total number of active cases there to 56.

There are no other active cases in the territory.

So far 189 people have recovered.


10:50 a.m.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the COVID-19 vaccine doses headed to Canada will be divided among provinces and territories on a per-capita basis, meaning according to the number of residents.

She says the federal government is setting aside an additional allotment of vaccine doses for First Nations people living on reserve, where health care is a federal responsibility.

For other Indigenous people, including Metis, First Nations and Inuit living in urban areas, they will be considered as part of the provincial population and given access to the vaccine in an equitable way.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences should be one of the priority groups.

Hajdu says she expects those recommendations be applied at the provincial level too.


10:40 a.m.
Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the forecast for the number of COVID-19 cases next January lower than it was two weeks ago.

She says that is because more stringent measures in Manitoba and British Columbia appear to have been helping control the spread of the novel coronavirus in those provinces.

Still, Canada is forecast to reach 12,000 daily new cases of COVID-19 by the beginning of January, which would bring increased rates of hospitalization and deaths following this rise.


10:35 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 1,848 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 45 new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 469 case are in Toronto, 386 in Peel Region, 205 in York Region, and 106 in Windsor-Essex.

The province says it has conducted more than 63-thousand tests since the last daily report.

In total, 808 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 235 in intensive care.


10:25 a.m.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says that ongoing high rates of infections in wider communities leads to more and bigger outbreaks and spread within high-risk settings.

That includes hospitals, schools, correctional facilities, shelters and long-term care homes.

She says preventing these outbreaks in long-term care facilities requires individuals and public health authorities working together because once COVID-19 get into a home it is harder to stop its spread.


10:20 a.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer says there are now more than 73,200 active COVID-19 cases in Canada, up from about 52,000 just three weeks ago.

Dr. Theresa Tam says despite more than 440,000 cases since the start of the pandemic in Canada, just over one per cent of Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

She says that is an important reminder the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to infection.


10:15 a.m.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines will help fight the COVID-19 pandemic but the worrying increase in cases means Canadians need to buckle down to keep from spreading the illness.

She says staying in, wearing masks when out and using the federal government's COVID Alert app are still the best things to do.

Especially over Christmas holidays, Hajdu says Canadians need to keep apart to save lives.


10 a.m.

New modelling of the COVID-19 pandemic from the Public Health Agency of Canada says the country is still on a "rapid growth trajectory" as cases of the illness increase.

The projections released today anticipate at least 90,000 more diagnoses by Christmas Day, and potentially as many as 135,000.

They also forecast between 1,300 and 1,800 more deaths in the next two weeks.

The health agency says the curve can be bent downward if Canadians reduce their contacts with others to only the essentials, but if we keep on as we are, the pandemic will continue to get worse in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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