ontario news watch

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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

5:55 p.m.

One in four Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday afternoon.

Provincial and territorial governments report that by late afternoon Tuesday, 9,502,010 people have received their first dose, which is 25 per cent of all Canadians. 

Reports show 944,344 have been given both doses, only 2.5 per cent of Canadians.

5:45 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 1,345 new cases of COVID-19.

The province says five more people have died due to the virus.

There are 476 people in hospital due to COVID-19 and 105 of those patients are in intensive care.

Officials say the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, is now the dominant strain in Alberta.

5:15 p.m.

Saskatchewan says it is dropping the age eligibility for the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to 40 from 55.

Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia have also lowered the age requirement for the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent days.

Quebec announced earlier today it is dropping the age to 45.

4 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 249 new cases of COVID-19.

The province says there have been no additional deaths due to the virus.

There are 195 people in hospital due to COVID-19, and 51 are in intensive care.

The government has also extended all existing public-health measures to May 10.

3:30 p.m.

Health officials in Prince Edward Island are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

The case involves a person in their 60s who had recently travelled outside of Atlantic Canada.

Officials also announced that a child under the age of 10 who was recently hospitalized in Charlottetown has been discharged and is isolating and being followed by public health daily, while a person in their 40s who had been admitted to intensive care has been moved to a regular hospital ward.

Prince Edward Island currently has 13 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 174 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic.

2:20 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting two new cases of COVID-19.

Officials say both cases are related to travel within Canada and both people involved are self-isolating.

There are now 27 active reported cases across the province.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 27 per cent of Newfoundland and Labrador residents eligible for a vaccine had received at least one dose.

2:10 p.m.

Ontario’s science advisers say the province’s hospitals are “buckling” under the weight of COVID-19 and stronger measures are urgently needed.

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table says those measures include accelerating the vaccination of essential workers and offering them paid sick days, and closing more non-essential workplaces.

The group says hospitals are at capacity and younger people are getting sick as case counts keep hitting record highs.

It also says that policies that discourage safe outdoor activity will disproportionately harm children and those who do not have access to green spaces, especially those living in crowded conditions.

1:45 p.m.

New Brunswick is confirming its first case of a patient experiencing blood clots after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the person in their 30s received the vaccine in mid-March, before its use was limited to people over the age of 55.

Russell says the person was treated and has recovered.

New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in over a month. 

The province has 139 active cases and 21 patients in hospital with the disease, including eight in intensive care.

1:35 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting one new death related to COVID-19 and 211 new cases. 

However, eight earlier cases have been removed due to data correction, bringing the net increase today to 203. 

Case numbers have been rising in recent weeks, and the province has imposed tighter restrictions on public gatherings and household visitors.

1:10 p.m.

Ontario's health minister says the province is examining what it can do to address "gaps" in the federal sick pay program.

Christine Elliott says the province had asked the Trudeau government to improve the program but no changes were announced in Monday's federal budget.

She says the province is now considering alternative options available to it to address the issue, but did not provide further details.

Health experts have called on Ontario to implement its own paid sick day program to help workers with COVID-19 self-isolate.

12:55 p.m.

Nova Scotia is placing major restrictions on travel to the province for the next month as variant cases continue to mount.

Premier Iain Rankin announced today that as of Friday at 8 a.m., people from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador will not be allowed to enter the province unless their travel is essential or they are permanent residents of the province.

Essential travel includes Nova Scotians whose primary employer is in another province, federally approved temporary foreign workers and people who need to participate in a legal proceeding.

There are also exceptions for post-secondary students coming to study or returning to their residence, and parents picking up a student to bring them home.

New residents can only move into a new home in the province if it was purchased before Friday morning, with the travel ban being reassessed a month from Friday.

12:45 p.m.

British Columbia is examining the use of periodic roadblocks to limit travel in the fight against COVID-19.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and the solicitor general, says the checks would be set up at locations like ferry terminals or along major highways leading out of Metro Vancouver.

In a statement, Farnworth says the goal is to discourage recreational travel, but there will be no random, individual stops.

12:40 p.m.

The governments of Manitoba and North Dakota have struck a deal to help ensure essential workers who have to cross the Canada-U.S. border are vaccinated against COVID-19.

North Dakota has agreed to start providing vaccines to commercial truckers from Manitoba who cross the border.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the program is the first of its kind between Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions, and he hopes to expand it to other essential workers who cross the border for work.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says because the U.S. has more vaccines, the state wants to ensure that Canadian truckers who frequently travel through the area are vaccinated.

Pallister says up to 4,000 Manitoba truckers could be eligible for the shots and the doses will be delivered at a rest stop south of the border.

12:30 p.m.

The federal government is extending hotel quarantine rules for international air travellers until May 21. 

All people arriving on an airplane from another country must quarantine at a designated hotel for three days pending the results of a COVID-19 test.

12:10 p.m.

Toronto says it will temporarily close any non-essential businesses that have had five or more COVID-19 cases in the previous two weeks.

Public health officials say the closures will be in effect for a minimum of 10 days, and workers are required to self-isolate during that time.

They say workplaces considered essential, such as health-care facilities and schools, may be exempt.

The announcement comes hours after neighbouring Peel Region — another COVID-19 hot spot — issued a similar order.

12 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19 today and now has 68 active cases.

Six of the cases are in the Halifax area, with five close contacts of previously reported cases and the other under investigation.

Officials say two cases have been identified in the western zone and one in the eastern zone with all three linked to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

As of yesterday, the province has administered 216,018 doses of COVID-19 vaccine with 32,877 people having received their required second dose.

11:35 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland both say they are seeking appointments at a pharmacy to get vaccinated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19.

Both Trudeau, 49, and Freeland, 52, became eligible today when Ontario dropped the age to get that vaccine to 40 and above.

Trudeau says he is still working out the details for getting his shot, while Freeland says she has her children online trying to get her an appointment and is now on a waitlist.

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,136 new cases of COVID-19 today and 17 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including four in the past 24 hours.

Health officials say hospitalizations rose by eight, to 694, and 177 people were in intensive care, a drop of six.

The province says it administered 47,799 doses of vaccine Monday, for a total of 2,448,409.

Quebec has reported a total of 339,180 cases of COVID-19 and 10,833 deaths linked to the virus.

10:40 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 3,469 cases of COVID-19 and 22 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 1,074 new cases in Toronto, 775 in Peel Region, and 406 in York Region.

There were 90,409 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine administered in the province since Monday’s report.

However, the Ministry of Health says that due to a Rogers outage on Monday, some vaccine clinics were forced to use paper-based reporting and so today's reported vaccine numbers are an underestimate.

10:15 a.m.

Nunavut is reporting five new cases of COVID-19.

There are now 33 active cases in the territory, 31 in Iqaluit and two in Kinngait.

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says the two cases in Kinngait are not related to the ongoing outbreak in Iqaluit.

Both Iqaluit and Kinngait are under a strict lockdown, with all schools, non-essential businesses and workplaces closed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press