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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Monday, April 12, 2021

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

6:55 p.m.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning those who use threats and intimidation to protest COVID-19 rules.

Provincial sheriffs estimate about 750 people gathered at the legislature earlier today to protest public-health restrictions.

Some chanted "lock her up," in reference to provincial chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and some said "just say no" to vaccines.

Kenney says he respects freedom of speech and protest, but it's offensive to threaten a public servant like Hinshaw who is only offering health advice.

He says it's clear that many people involved in recent protests are "unhinged conspiracy theorists."

6:30 p.m.

B.C.'s top doctor says about half of the COVID-19 cases in the province are variants of concern.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the variants are making some spaces riskier when it comes to transmission of the illness that's now linked to more than 1,500 deaths in the province.

B.C. has recorded 3,289 new cases of COVID-19 over the last three days, pushing the number of active cases over 9,900, including 368 people who are hospitalized.

Henry is urging B.C. residents not to travel for non-essential purposes and to stay vigilant as the province battles what she called the third wave of the pandemic.

More than 1,112,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province.

5:50 p.m.

Alberta is reporting a slight dip in new COVID-19 cases with 1,136 infections.

The province says there have been five additional deaths and 679 new variant cases have also been identified.

Variant cases currently make up about 51 per cent of the 14,849 active cases in Alberta.

There are 390 people in hospital because of the virus and 90 are in intensive care.

3:55 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 300 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death of a person in their 60s. 

Ninety-six of the cases are in Regina, which is a hot spot for variants of concern. 

There are 198 people in hospital and 41 are in intensive care. 

The province also announced first responders will now be targeted through mobile vaccination units once current priority populations, including those in group homes and shelters, have received a dose.

3:45 p.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the new cases involve people who had recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada.

Prince Edward Island has seven active reported cases of COVID-19.

The Island has reported a total of 165 infections and no deaths linked to the virus.

3:40 p.m.

Ontario classes will move online next week.

Premier Doug Ford says community spread of COVID-19 is too high to risk having students return to classes after spring break.

He says the province will decide based on COVID-19 data when in-person classes can resume.

The government says child care will remain open for non-school-aged children and for children of front-line workers.

3 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting seven new cases of COVID-19.

All of the cases were recorded in the province’s central zone, which includes Halifax.

Five cases are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada, and the other two are close contacts of previously reported cases.

As of today, Nova Scotia has 46 active cases of COVID-19.

2 p.m.

The Ontario Hospital Association says all Greater Toronto Area hospitals are closing their pediatric units to help accommodate a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Association president Anthony Dale says 10 hospitals and their various sites in the GTA will send their pediatric patients to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children for care. 

Dale says the closure, which takes effect today, was ordered over the weekend by the GTA Hospital Incident Management System Command Centre.

He says hospital staff from the pediatric units will be redeployed to care for a rising number of COVID-19 patients.

1:40 p.m.

The Manitoba government says it may impose more restrictive public health orders very soon. 

Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says case counts and test positivity rates are rising, and there are more signs of house parties and other gatherings. 

Roussin is recommending mask use outdoors whenever people gather, and says that is among possible new rules being considered.

1:40 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting 114 new COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths today. 

The percentage of people testing positive is rising. 

The five-day average now stands at 6.2 per cent provincially and 5.6 per cent in Winnipeg.

1:35 p.m.

Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting two cases of a variant of the novel coronavirus first identified in South Africa.

Officials say the two variant cases were reported in the Saint John region earlier this month.

The province is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19 today: four in the Moncton region and six in the Edmundston area.

New Brunswick has 145 active reported cases of COVID-19 and 18 patients in hospital with the disease, including 13 in intensive care.

11:20 a.m.

Toronto’s top doctor says at the current rate of transmission, the city could see 2,500 new COVID-19 cases per day by the end of April.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa said today the surging rates are being driven by more transmissible variants of concern.

De Villa says the current record for daily cases in Toronto is 1,642, which was set during the second wave of the pandemic.

She says the city’s vaccination program is expanding but says it still won’t be enough to offset the impact of the variants.

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,599 new cases of COVID-19 today and two more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, none of which occurred in the past 24 hours.

Health officials say hospitalizations rose by 22, to 630, and 142 people were in intensive care, a rise of three. 

The province says it administered 52,705 doses of vaccine in the previous 24 hours, for a total of 1,944,877 doses.

Quebec has reported a total of 304,267 cases of COVID-19 and 10,744 deaths linked to the virus; it has 12,971 active reported cases.

10:45 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 4,401 new cases of COVID-19 today and 15 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 1,282 new cases in Toronto, 772 in Peel Region, 564 in York Region, 339 in Ottawa and 224 in Durham.

The province says it has conducted 47,929 tests since its last daily report.

In total, 1,646 people are hospitalized in Ontario with the disease, including 619 in intensive care; 408 people are on ventilators.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. The 2 p.m. item now says all GTA hospitals have closed their pediatric units and that 10 hospitals and their various GTA sites will send their pediatric patients to SickKids.