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April 3: Nova Scotia reports 4 new COVID-19 cases, issues warning about potential exposure on Air Canada flights –



Nova Scotia reported four new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. 

Of two cases in the central health zone, one is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. The person is self-isolating, as required. The other is a close contact of a previous case.

There are also two cases in the eastern zone, both related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, the Health Department said in a news release. The people are self-isolating, as required.

The Health Department corrected the location of a new case reported on Friday. It’s in the western health zone, not the central zone. 

The four new cases are on top of nine reported on Friday

There are now 32 active cases in Nova Scotia, up one case from yesterday: 19 are in the central zone, nine in the western zone, three in the eastern zone and one in the northern zone. 

“Nova Scotians have worked hard to keep their communities healthy and safe. Let’s keep that up over this holiday weekend,” said Premier Iain Rankin said in the release.  “Please continue to follow public health guidelines – stay home if you’re feeling unwell, follow gathering limits, get tested regularly if you are socializing and wear non-medical masks when and where appropriate.”

‘Epidemiology remains stable’

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,352 Nova Scotia tests on April 2.

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 313,116 tests. There have been 643 positive COVID-19 cases with an age range of under 10 to over 90. There have been 610 resolved cases and one death. One person is in hospital. 

“Our epidemiology remains stable and that is very good news given what is happening in some provinces across the country,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “So far, we’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had any community spread associated with our variant cases. Thank you to everyone who continues to follow the public health precautions and gets tested when called upon.”

Nova Scotians are strongly encouraged to seek asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, particularly if they have a large number of close contacts due to their work or social activities. Appointments can be booked at  by choosing the asymptomatic option. Rapid testing pop-up sites continue to be set up around the province as well. More information on testing can be found at

Potential exposure advisory

Nova Scotia Health Public Health issued an advisory Saturday evening about potential exposure to COVID-19 on two Air Canada flights:

  • Air Canada flight 624 travelling from Toronto on Sunday, March 28 (9:15 p.m.) and arriving in Halifax on March 29 (12:15 a.m.). Passengers in rows 18-24 are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit to book a test regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers should continue to self-isolate as required and watch for COVID-19 symptoms up to and including April 12. 
  • Air Canada flight 604 travelling from Toronto (7:50 a.m.) to Halifax (10:50 a.m.) on Thursday, April 1. Passengers in rows 18-24 are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately book an online test at the link above regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers should continue to self-isolate as required and watch for symptoms up to and including April 15. 

These passengers should not to go to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so. They should book an appointment online and not visit a pop-up rapid testing location.

All potential exposure notifications are listed here:

N.B. reports nine cases

On Saturday, New Brunswick reported nine new COVID-19 cases including an outbreak at a special care home in Edmundston. 

On March 25, Nova Scotia advised residents not to travel to the Edmundston area where most of the recent N.B. cases have occurred. New Brunswickers are allowed to visit Nova Scotia without having to self-isolate but Nova Scotians still must self-isolate when visiting N.B. 


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Exclusive-Canada’s Ontario to expand use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as epidemic rages



By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday to people turning 40 or older this year, according to a government source.

The change will broaden access to vaccines as a third wave of infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals in Canada‘s most-populous province, and should make it easier to use doses that in some cases have been accumulating at pharmacies.

The change will be announced on Monday and go into effect across the province on Tuesday, according to the source. The vaccine has already been distributed to pharmacies but currently can only be given to people turning 55 or older this year.

Ontario announced new public health measures on Friday, promising checkpoints at provincial borders, new police powers and closing outdoor amenities, while leaving many workplaces open. The measures were widely criticized by doctors and public health experts, and the province quickly reopened playgrounds and modified the new police powers.

On March 29, Health Canada said it would review reports of serious blood clots and bleeding in a small number of people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries, and an independent panel called the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI) recommended that it only be given to people 55 and older. All provinces followed that advice.

But NACI’s recommendations are not binding. Last week, Health Canada, the country’s drug regulator, said it had reviewed all available evidence and would not restrict the use of the vaccine, because its benefits outweigh its potential risks. Health Canada said at the time that NACI was reviewing its recommendations.

On Sunday, NACI’s chair told Reuters that the panel would make a new recommendation on Tuesday.

Health Canada said regulators in the UK had estimated the risk of clots to be very small, roughly four in a million people who receive the vaccine. It also said the complication was treatable. Two people have developed it in Canada, and both are recovering.

Several other countries have limited the use of the vaccine to older people. Denmark has withdrawn the shot, and Norway said on Thursday it would take more time to decide whether to resume use.

Ontario reported 4,250 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The Ontario Hospital Association said 59 patients were admitted to intensive care on Saturday, bringing the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs to 737.

Health Canada says those who receive the vaccine should seek medical attention immediately if they experience shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent belly pain, neurological symptoms like severe headaches or blurred vision, or skin bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.


(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Diane Craft and Peter Cooney)

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Trudeau mobilizes federal workers to battle COVID-19 in Toronto and rest of Ontario




OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday he would send federal healthcare workers to help Toronto and the province of Ontario battle a third wave of COVID-19 infections that has forced shutdowns of schools and businesses.

“We are mobilizing federal healthcare workers from across government departments to deploy on the front lines in Ontario and specifically the Greater Toronto area where the situation is most critical,” Trudeau said in a video posted on Twitter.

Other provinces, especially on the Atlantic coast, are working “to determine what human resources and equipment they could free up over the coming days,” Trudeau said, adding that the federal government would cover the costs of that help.

The government will also seek to boost rapid testing, especially for essential workers, Trudeau said.

The government of Ontario, Canada‘s most-populous province and industrial powerhouse, has moved schools online and announced more stringent public health measures on Friday, including shutting the provincial borders to non-essential travel.

On Saturday, federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair deployed two mobile health units to set up more hospital beds in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and the prime minister said he stood ready to send the Red Cross to staff mobile vaccination clinics in Ontario if help is requested.

Canada‘s seven-day average of new infections was 8,669, the chief medical officer said on Sunday, a 26% increase compared with the previous seven days. Ontario reported 4,250 new cases on Sunday.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

More than 48 million doses are to be delivered by the end of June, which is enough for all of Canada‘s population of some 38 million to receive at least one shot, with a total of 100 million doses expected by the end of September.


(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Canada has second case of rare blood clots after AstraZeneca vaccin



(Reuters) – Canada on Saturday reported a second case of rare blood clots with low platelets after immunization with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in a week, while it said it still recommended the use of the shot.

The person who experienced the very rare event has been treated and is recovering, Canada‘s health ministry said in a statement, adding that the person lives in the province of Alberta.

Based on the evidence available, Canada still maintains that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential risks, the statement said.

Canada health authorities “will continue to monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns,” the statement said.

Canada reported a first blood clotting associated with the vaccine on Tuesday, and a day later, after a review, health authorities said they would not restrict use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A separate advisory council had earlier recommended Canada stop offering the vaccine to people under 55. That panel is in the process of reviewing its advice.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign, but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the provinces borders to domestic travelers.


(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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