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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on April 4 – CBC.ca

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The latest: 

British Columbia’s medical health officer said Saturday the curve in the number of coronavirus cases in the province appears to be flattening as the province reported it saw just 29 new cases.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said she’s heartened by a decrease in the number of B.C. residents being diagnosed with COVID-19, saying if the province had continued to see the previous acceleration of about 25 per cent she would have been very concerned.

She said the decrease could allow for better health care for those who need help both for COVID-19 and other illnesses. 

B.C. recorded three more deaths Saturday for a total of 38 deaths. The province has 1,203 cases, of which 704 are considered recovered or resolved. 

Meanwhile, other provinces are working to map and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

WATCH | Paramedic describes front-line fight against COVID-19:

Iggy Chan says coronavirus has made his job more dangerous because he is fighting an ‘invisible’ enemy. 4:41

Three of Atlantic Canada’s four provinces say they will attempt to provide COVID-19 modelling projections sometime next week. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. all say they will provide numbers, although Newfoundland and Labrador says it doesn’t have sufficient data to do so.

On Friday, Ontario released its provincial projection and modelling information related to the pandemic, which projects the coronavirus crisis could last 18 months to two years and kill 3,000 to 15,000 people, even with public health measures in place.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday officials at the federal level are “working on getting the rest of the provinces’ scenarios” in order “to be able to prepare proper projections” on a nationwide basis. He expects more modelling and predictions to be released in the coming days.

WATCH | Trudeau says Ottawa collecting data to make broader COVID-19 predictions:

Trudeau says that the federal government will continue to collect the necessary data to make broader COVID-19 predictions. 0:25

Abroad, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said flights repatriating Canadians have lifted off from Algeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru and India. Champagne said flights are expected Sunday from Argentina, Cuba, El Salvador, India, Lebanon and Serbia.

Meanwhile, a virus-hit cruise ship with 99 Canadians on board has arrived in Miami, and disembarkment of guests who are fit to fly home will begin Sunday.

The Coral Princess departed San Antonio on March 5 and was set to end its voyage March 19 in Buenos Aires, but it was discovered a dozen people onboard tested positive for COVID-19. The ship has been looking for a place to dock since March 13, but no country had allowed it before now.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms such as pneumonia. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says the situation is evolving daily and the risk to Canadians from COVID-19 is “considered high.”

Row over masks

Trudeau on Saturday also addressed concerns about the urgent need for medical protective equipment to help curb the spread of COVID-19, saying a large shipment of masks will be headed to Canada soon. 

“In the next 48 hours, we will be receiving a shipment of millions of masks by a chartered cargo flight. We’re also working with provinces to transport their medical supplies when possible,” Trudeau said Saturday at his daily media briefing just outside his Rideau Cottage residence in Ottawa. 

“Our government has also leased a warehouse in China to help collect and distribute these items as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirmed to CBC News that the plane would be travelling from China bearing millions of surgical masks, as well as other supplies intended for Quebec-based companies. 

WATCH | Why N95 masks are so important:

The Trump administration is telling one of the world’s leading manufacturers of N95 masks that it should stop exporting masks to Canada and Latin America. 2:43

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an order Friday, telling Minnesota-based 3M to stop supplying N95 respirator masks to Canada and Latin America. Trump said he wants the masks reserved strictly for U.S. health-care workers.

Trudeau said the federal government has been “very clearly” communicating to the Trump administration that it is critical not to disrupt the two-way flow of essential goods and services. On Saturday, Trudeau said he would be speaking with Trump again “in the coming days.” Canadian officials, he said, have been talking to people at “all levels” of the Trump administration to ensure essential medical equipment can move freely. 

Here’s a look at what’s happening in the provinces and territories

Canada has more than 14,000 cases confirmed and presumptive cases, with 274 deaths. The provinces and territories that list information about recovered cases have reported 2,785 cases as resolved or recovered. There have also been two reported COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and one in Brazil. 

Public health officials caution that reported case numbers don’t provide a complete picture of the scale of the outbreak as that data doesn’t capture people who haven’t been tested and cases that are still under investigation. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has urged people nationwide to practise physical distancing and behave as though there is COVID-19 in their community, even if there is no known case. 

WATCH | Tam cautions models are ‘not crystal balls’:

Dr. Theresa Tam says it’s important for Canadians to understand the limits of statistical modelling when it comes to predicting the impact of COVID-19.  0:49

In British Columbia, the Vancouver Park Board is deploying more than two dozen of its staff to patrol city parks and beaches, making people aware of physical distancing and public etiquette around sharing outdoor space. The board said in a release that the workers will help park rangers who have issued more than 1,400 warnings for people to adhere to the two-metre distance rule. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Health-care workers are seen in a drive-thru tent at the Burnaby, B.C., COVID-19 primary care site. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

In Alberta, the majority of the province’s 18 recorded deaths are in continuing care homes and there are now outbreaks in nine facilities. Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said it’s a worrisome trend and that part of the problem is staff can work at more than one facility. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.

In Saskatchewan, the head of the province’s nurses union says health officials are looking at “new and creative ways” for medical workers to use face masks. Tracy Zambory says the Saskatchewan Health Authority will have to first conduct trials to make sure the practice is safe in hospitals where PPE (personal protective equipment) is already being rationed. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan, and the story of a Saskatchewan man living in New York who has helped get N95 masks into the hands of health-care professionals in that city.

Manitoba is opening what it calls “alternative isolation centres” this weekend for people who need to self-isolate and may need extra support. The first is in a hotel, which will have enhanced cleaning.

The province’s chief nursing officer says housekeeping staff at its acute care centres will start collecting “gently used” N95 masks for sterilization and re-use if the masks are deemed safe. Manitoba also reported 12 new cases on Saturday. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

(CBC)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says only essential workers should leave home unless it’s for getting groceries or other absolutely necessary reasons. To drive home the message, the province sent out another emergency alert on Saturday.

In Toronto, people who violate a new physical distancing city bylaw could be fined up to $1,000 — although education is the “preferred method of enforcement,” said Meaghan Gray, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service. There will be 160 police officers on the lookout, she said. 

Meanwhile, Canada’s largest prison for women is in partial lockdown as it deals with a COVID-19 outbreak, according to Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. Five inmates have tested positive at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener. The union says one prison guard has also tested positive for the virus. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

In Quebec, 14 more people have died. The province has 6,997 cases and there are 478 people in hospital, including 130 in intensive care, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said. Read more about what’s happening across Quebec, and get the details of planned pay hikes for health-care workers.

Police cadets keep an eye on social distancing in Lafontaine Park in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

New Brunswick is confirming three new cases. Officials say most of the cases are related to travel or close contacts with confirmed cases, but four cases are from community transmission and six cases remain under investigation.

Meanwhile, the province is worried about a potential shortage of COVID-19 test suppliesPremier Blaine Higgs told CBC’s Power & Politics if the province “ramped up a bit we could be within like a week of running out of test supplies.” Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

Nova Scotia is reporting 29 new cases of COVID-19. Health officials say most cases in Nova Scotia have been linked to travel or a known case, but there is clear evidence that infections are now being spread within the community.

As a result, the province is ramping up its testing. Processing at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax will now move to a 24-7 operation as of Monday. Four individuals are currently in hospital and 50 others have now recovered. Read more about what’s happening in Nova Scotia.

WATCH | What the COVID-19 pandemic looks like across Canada:

A look at how different provinces are handling the COVID-19 pandemic and how the numbers vary. 4:46

Prince Edward Island on Saturday said it has recorded no new cases compared with the previous day. The province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said the island’s confirmed number of cases remains at 22. Additionally, P.E.I. received 169 negative test results and a total of six people have recovered from the virus. Morrison is urging Islanders not to become complacent and to continue staying home in order to prevent community transmission. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.

Newfoundland and Labrador announced eight new cases. The majority of the province’s now-more-than 200 cases are connected to a single funeral home. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

Northwest Territories health officials and the premier are doubling down on a government policy to not identify small communities with cases of COVID-19. “Knowing what community COVID-19 is in will not make you safer,” said Premier Caroline Cochrane. “What will make you safer is respecting the orders of the chief public health officer.” Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S.

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 7:05 p.m. ET

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Americans there will be “a lot of death” in the next two weeks.

In an afternoon news conference, Trump said that 3M is working to deliver 180 million N95 masks for the country’s stockpile. He also said the U.S. has 10,000 ventilators in its pipeline and 29 million doses of an anti-malarial drug on hand.

The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded 300,000, with the death toll climbing past 8,100; more than 3,500 of those deaths are in New York state, including more than 1,900 in New York City alone. 

Trump hinted that some states have more ventilators than they will admit and others are requesting more than they need.

WATCH | Trump details national stockpile of supplies to fight COVID-19

In a Saturday press conference, U.S. President Donald Trump said 3M is making 180 million N95 masks for the United States. 2:26

“We want to be ready when the brunt of it comes, when it’s coming quickly,” he said.

The president also said 1,000 military personnel are being deployed to New York City, one of the hardest-hit places in the United States.

New York state is poised to get over 1,100 ventilators from China and Oregon as it scrambles to line up more breathing machines for the sickest coronavirus patients.

Emergency medical technicians transport a patient to Elmhurst Hospital Center emergency room New York City on Saturday. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

Cuomo said Saturday that the Chinese government and billionaires Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai facilitated a gift of 1,000 ventilators that were due to arrive Saturday. Ma and Tsai are co-founders of the online marketplace Alibaba. Cuomo says the state of Oregon volunteered to send 140 more breathing machines

Governors across the U.S. have been desperately pleading for more supplies — particularly ventilators — and shopping global markets as they try to keep their states safe, as the Trump administration has limited access to a federal stockpile that’s dwindling fast.

Cuomo had said that his state’s stockpile of ventilators would be exhausted in six days if the number of critically ill coronavirus patients kept growing at the current rate.

People wearing masks line up at Bread Alone outdoor market while maintaining social distancing requirements in New York City on Saturday. (Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press)

Cuomo also said he will sign an executive order to allow medical students who were about to graduate to begin practising.

He also said that New York at one point made purchase orders for 17,000 of the breathing machines, but only 2,500 came through.

Some states and cities that have been shipped masks, gloves, ventilators and other essential equipment from the nation’s medical stockpile to fight the coronavirus have gotten an unwelcome surprise: the material is unusable. Nearly 6,000 medical masks sent to Alabama had dry rot and a 2010 expiration date.

EMT workers sanitize their shoes before they go out on calls in Bethesda, a suburb of Washington D.C., on Saturday. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

The number of crew on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier who have tested positive for the coronavirus has risen 13 per cent in the past 24 hours to 155, the Navy said on Saturday, in the wake of the firing of the carrier’s captain.

The Navy said 44 per cent  of the carrier’s nearly 5,000-strong crew had been tested and 1,548 sailors from the crew have moved ashore. None of the infected sailors have been hospitalized, it said in a statement.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in hard-hit Italy, Spain and parts of Europe

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 8 p.m. ET

Spain‘s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says that his nation ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic is “starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Current numbers show Spain has 124,000 cases of coronavirus and over 11,000 deaths.

People wearing face masks line up to buy supplies from a shop in Barcelona on Saturday. (Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press)

Italy’s virus-ravaged Lombardy region is now requiring residents to wear a protective mask when they go outside in a bid to further trim infections.

Nationwide, the country is seeing more relief in its jammed intensive care units, with 74 fewer beds in use over the past day. Overall, new infections continued to slow their once-exponential pace, with 4,805 new cases registered Saturday that brought Italy’s official count to 124,632. The death toll continued to mount, with 681 new victims bringing the world’s highest toll to 15,362.

In the U.K., the number of fatalities is expected to remain high for at least another week or two even if people comply with stringent isolation measures, health authorities said on Saturday as the country’s death toll jumped to 4,313.

That number includes five London bus workers — three were drivers and two were controllers. Bus ridership has plummeted by more than 75 per cent but the drivers who died may have been infected before the lockdown.

A health-care worker is seen at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre in London on Saturday. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

In Portugal, confirmed coronavirus cases rose past the 10,000 mark on Saturday, with 266 deaths, as Health Minister Marta Temido urged citizens to step up their fight against the outbreak as there was still “no light at the end of the tunnel.

“This fight is not a 100-metre race, it is a long marathon,” Temido told reporters.

Greece has quarantined a migrant camp after 20 asylum seekers tested positive, the country’s first such facility hit since the outbreak. Police in Greece say they have issued 17,358 fines for people breaking the new restrictions on leaving home since a lockdown began on March 23.

France’s health director said 7,560 people have now died of coronavirus-related issues since the start of the epidemic in the country, including at least 2,028 in nursing homes. France has experienced 441 more deaths in hospitals in the last 24 hours.

A jogger is seen on an empty street along the Seine river during a nationwide lockdown in Paris on Saturday. (Christophe Ena/Associated Press)

Bulgaria’s Orthodox Christian majority has been urged to stay away from church services during the upcoming Easter holidays, but the church is resisting calls to close — making it the only denomination in the country not to do so.

Health officials have voiced fears that many worshippers might ignore the quarantine and attend the church services. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said the government would not intervene.

Sweden’s strategy for fighting COVID-19 differs from most European countries, appearing comparatively more relaxed. Stockholm was quiet but far from deserted on Saturday as Swedes sought to make the most of the sunshine. Swedish authorities have advised the public to practise social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants are still open, and only gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned. So far, some 373 people have died from COVID-19 in Sweden and there are almost 6,500 cases.

WATCH | Sweden’s approach to COVID-19 pandemic involves no lockdown:

As many countries around the world lock down to deal with COVID-19, Sweden has not taken lockdown measures. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees remain open, as do primary schools and daycares. 4:48

Here’s a look at China, South Korea and some other areas of concern around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 8 p.m. ET

Throughout much of China, people observed a three-minute moment of reflection on Saturday to honour those who died of COVID-19. Air raid sirens wailed and flags were at half-mast.

The pandemic was first detected in Wuhan in December.

The city was placed under complete lockdown on Jan. 23 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus and has been lauded as a “heroic city” by the nation’s communist leadership for the sacrifices made by its 11 million citizens.

People have gradually been allowed to travel in and out of Wuhan under strict conditions. The quarantine in the city is to be formally lifted on Wednesday.

A person holds a floral bouquet as people gather outside of a park where an official memorial was held for victims of coronavirus in Wuhan on Saturday. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

Turkey’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 23,934 on Saturday, with the number of deaths rising to 501, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter. In the last 24 hours, 19,664 tests were conducted, bringing the total performed in Turkey so far to 161,380, Koca said. 

South Korea has extended government guidelines urging people to practise physical distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus for two weeks as infections continue to grow in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun says rising infections are linked to recent arrivals amid broadening outbreaks in Europe and the U.S.

Applicants taking a written examination are seen seated far apart from each other at the Wa stadium in Ansan, South Korea, on Saturday. (Hong Ki-won/Yonhap via AP)

Iran, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, reported another 158 deaths on Saturday. That brings the overall number of fatalities there to 3,452, amid 55,743 confirmed cases. Health Ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour said more than 4,000 patients are in serious condition.

A person wearing a face mask is seen in northern Tehran on Saturday. (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)

In Egypt, the country’s main cancer hospital has been quarantined after at least 17 medics tested positive for the virus on Saturday. The National Cancer Institute will be partly closed for three days to be sterilized, with only the emergency ward remaining open.

Egypt has reported 1,070 confirmed cases and 71 fatalities from the global pandemic. Authorities have closed schools and mosques, banned public gatherings and imposed a nighttime curfew to prevent the virus from spreading among the population of 100 million, a fifth of whom live in the densely populated capital, Cairo.

Kenya has ordered the quarantine period extended for two weeks in facilities where some people went on “partying sprees” and might have spread the new coronavirus.

Officials on Saturday reported a high number of cases among those in quarantine facilities and accused some people of not taking social distancing seriously. But some Kenyans have complained to local media about the quarantine conditions that include shared bathrooms and poor hygiene. Kenya has 126 confirmed cases.

Bus passengers wash their hands as they queue to have their temperature checked for signs of fever at a medical check point in Manyani, southern Kenya, on Saturday. (Associated Press)

Brazil health officials grappling with the coronavirus outbreak have issued a stark warning about a lack of hospital beds, masks, testing devices and trained staff across Latin America’s largest nation. A report published Friday night said Brazil can currently carry out 6,700 tests a day, but that it will need to process as many as 30,000 to 50,000 tests daily during the peak of the outbreak, expected in June.

This latest assessment of the public health-care system raises questions about its capacity to face the outbreak in a country of nearly 210 million. It also calls for the maintenance of quarantine measures in states that are most badly hit, challenging President Jair Bolsonaro’s more laid-back approach to the virus.

As of Saturday afternoon, the health ministry had reported 10,278 confirmed cases and 431 deaths. But the outbreak is still in its early phase, the report said, and the country’s hospitals are not ready to handle a peak.

Ecuador‘s government has begun storing the bodies of victims of the coronavirus in giant refrigerated containers as hundreds of deaths in the city of Guayaquil, the centre of the country’s outbreak, have already filled morgues and hospitals. Ecuador has confirmed 318 deaths from the virus, one of the highest tallies in Latin America.

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For 4th day in a row, Canada adds fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases – Global News

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Canada’s daily coronavirus case count remained under 1,000 for the fourth consecutive day.

With 906 new cases and 102 deaths, Friday tipped the country over 89,000 cases. Close to 7,000 people have died and nearly 47,000 people have recovered.

Quebec, the hardest-hit part of the country, saw a spike in COVID-19 cases two weeks after reopening elementary schools. At least 41 students and staff tested positive, and the province saw its total case count rise by 530 cases Friday to more than 50,000 cases overall — more than half of Canada’s total number of infections.


READ MORE:
Quebec, province hardest hit by health crisis, tops 50,000 coronavirus cases

Quebec also saw its death toll increase by 61, with fatalities now totalling 4,363. More than 15,600 people are considered recovered.

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Ontario announced it is considering a regional approach to easing coronavirus restrictions. The province saw 344 new cases and 41 new deaths Friday, raising its figures to more than 27,000 cases and 2,230 deaths over all. More than 20,000 people are deemed recovered.






9:05
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario premier looking into possible regional reopenings


Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario premier looking into possible regional reopenings

A doctor in New Brunswick who failed to self-isolate after visiting Quebec earlier this month has been linked to a growing cluster of eight cases — an unwelcome development after New Brunswick had recently cleared almost all of its cases of COVID-19.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The cluster includes three health-care workers and two cases in intensive care units. New Brunswick has seen zero deaths from COVID-19 so far, and a total of 128 cases, including 120 recoveries.


READ MORE:
2 new coronavirus cases in N.B., doctor connected to outbreak in Campbellton suspended

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Nova Scotia reported no new cases, leaving it with a little more than 1,000 cases and 59 deaths. The majority of fatalities are linked to one long-term care home in Halifax. The province is now allowing 10-person gatherings.

There were no new deaths reported in Alberta. The province has opened up its testing to everyone, regardless of symptoms. Two dozen new cases brought the total caseload to nearly 7,000, including more than 6,200 recoveries and 143 deaths. A hundred of those who have died are aged 80 and up.






1:38
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health minister discusses launch of next phase of testing strategy


Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health minister discusses launch of next phase of testing strategy

British Columbia also saw no new deaths. Four new cases brought provincial figures to 2,562 cases, including more than 2,100 recoveries, while the death toll remained 164.

Saskatchewan reported two new cases and no new deaths. Ten people have died so far, and the province has seen 641 cases in total. More than 500 people have recovered.

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READ MORE:
How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

Manitoba reported no new cases. The province has seen seven people die out of 283 cases. More than 270 are recovered.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases, leaving it with 261 cases, including three deaths and more than 250 recoveries. Residents are now allowed to expand their social bubbles.






2:37
Coronavirus: Toronto asks businesses, institutions to remain working from home until September


Coronavirus: Toronto asks businesses, institutions to remain working from home until September

All cases in Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon remain resolved, with no new information reported on Friday. Nunavut remains the one region in Canada without any confirmed cases so far.


READ MORE:
Coronavirus: Trump terminates relationship with World Health Organization

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Globally, the virus has resulted in close to 5.9 million cases and more than 363,000 deaths. The U.S. alone has seen more than 100,000 deaths.

— With files by The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Ford considering regional reopening of Ontario

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he’s considering a regional, phased approach to reopening the province amid the COVID-19 pandemic — an option he had previously resisted.

“Everything is on the table,” Ford said at his daily briefing on Friday. “It’s an option that we are looking at. I know other jurisdictions have done this. I want to know how this has gone in other areas, what lessons we can learn.”

Ford said the province’s expanded testing guidelines, released this morning, will help public health officials better understand trends and hot spots.

“Now that our testing is getting to where we need it, I am now comfortable with asking our officials to look at a regional approach for a staged reopening.”

Ford has previously said he wouldn’t consider a regional reopening, opting instead for a blanket policy despite considerable differences in the number of active cases in various parts of the province. For example, a CBC News analysis found that the per capita rate of active cases is four times higher in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area than elsewhere in Ontario.

Ford cautioned that an ultimate decision will be based on advice from public health officials.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said a regional approach presents challenges with public messaging and how to safely delineate various regions.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said Friday afternoon that the reopening of any region needs to depend on public health numbers.

“We have a different situation here because of the size of the population,” Tory said, adding that the size of Toronto’s transit system alone makes it very different than the rest of the province.

344 new cases

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 344 additional cases of COVID-19 on Friday and said it surpassed its testing benchmark for a second straight day.

The news comes as the province revealed its new testing strategy will focus on communities with relatively high numbers of cases and certain high-risk workplaces while also boosting Ontario’s contact-tracing work. (You can read the full provincial strategy at the bottom of this story.)

The new cases bring the total in the province since the COVID-19 outbreak began in January to 27,210. Slightly more than 77 per cent of those cases are now resolved.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of labs processed 18,525 tests yesterday, the most since May 15. The current daily target is 16,000, though the system has the capacity to handle more than 20,000 on any given day.

The backlog of samples waiting to be processed grew to 13,351, meaning more than 20,000 tests were added to the queue yesterday.

The overall number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 fell again — down seven to 826 — and remained at its lowest level seen in about a month.

The death toll from COVID-19 currently sits at 2,275, according to data compiled by CBC News. About 78.5 per cent of all deaths in the province were residents in long-term care homes.

Pop-up testing centres

Ontario’s Ministry of Health is helping to run pop-up COVID-19 assessment centres in one of the province’s hardest-hit areas.

In a news release issued Friday morning, the Scarborough Health Network said it is working in conjunction with the ministry and Toronto Public Health to operate the first of the pop-up facilities at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, in the northeastern part of the city.

Officials are encouraging anyone in those communities who thinks they may have been infected with the novel coronavirus, even if they are asymptomatic, to get tested.

 

Front-line health-care staff conduct drive-thru COVID-19 testing at a specially built facility near Etobicoke General Hospital in Toronto. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

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The assessment centre will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET today. Two more days of pop-up testing are scheduled in Scarborough thus far, though the ministry says there will be a total of days at five different locations.

The next is scheduled for June 1 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, while a third will be held at Global Kingdom Ministries on June 2.

North Scarborough is among the three areas of Toronto with the most COVID-19 cases, according to data released by Toronto Public Health earlier this week. Northern Etobicoke and parts of North York also have a high number of cases. All three areas are home to relatively low-income neighbourhoods with dense multi-unit residences.

The pop-up assessment centres are part of the province’s updated testing strategy, which is set to ramp up in earnest next week.

Expanded testing strategy

The revised plan was detailed by public health officials at a technical briefing for media this morning. It aligns closely with what Ford has hinted at over the past several weeks.

The strategy includes a directive, outlined in a memo from the Ministry of Health last weekend, that anyone who is concerned they may have COVID-19 is not to be refused a test at any of the province’s 131 assessment centres.

There will be “targeted campaigns” aimed at testing employees in key sectors identified by the province, including the agri-food, auto and retail industries. Officials are working with individual employers to put those campaigns in motion in the coming weeks.

Ontario will also establish mobile testing units — buses or vans equipped with supplies and staffed by health-care workers — that could be used to test those living in particularly hard-hit communities.

There are currently more than 20 public, commercial and hospital labs processing testing samples. The revised strategy does not include any new targets for daily capacity, because the situation is too fluid to provide an accurate benchmark, officials said.

Some infectious disease experts have been critical of the province’s messaging on testing, saying it has thus far left room for confusion about who actually qualifies for an assessment.

The province has failed to reach its daily testing target more than half the time in May. Levels dropped sharply once a blitz of nearly all long-term care residents and staff was completed over the long weekend, but they have picked up again in recent days after Ontario relaxed criteria for members of the public to be tested.

Public health officials have said that ramping up testing in the general public will be essential as Ontario looks to further loosen restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Source: CBC.ca

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Edited BY Harry Miller

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Coronavirus: What's happening across Canada on Friday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Canada approached 7,000 COVID-19-related deaths and the total number of cases passed 88,000 on Thursday as both Quebec and Ontario reported hundreds of new cases and New Brunswick faced a fresh outbreak linked to a health-care worker.

As of 7:30 a.m. ET Friday, Canada had 88,512 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 46,853 of them considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 6,963.

New Brunswick, which has been ahead of most other provinces in its reopening given its relatively low case numbers, announced a new outbreak this week in Campbellton, which is near the Quebec border in the province’s north. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, said there are a total of six cases, including a health-care worker who failed to self-isolate after travel.

The province said in a statement Thursday that the current active cases “appear to have a connection to a health-care professional who worked in the Restigouche area.”

“Based on the contact tracing and the testing that we are doing, we will see more cases,” she said Thursday. Premier Blaine Higgs, who has called the health worker “irresponsible,” said that information has been passed along to RCMP, “to determine exactly what took place and whether charges are warranted.”

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories 

British Columbia health officials said Thursday that an outbreak at the Mission Institution, a medium security correctional facility, is over. The Correctional Service Canada reported 120 positive COVID-19 tests at the facility, with one death. Read more about what’s happening in B.C, which reported two new long-term care deaths linked to COVID-19, for a total of 164 deaths.

Alberta is allowing preschools to open as of June 1 under tighter public health guidelines. The province reported two more COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing its total to 143. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta, where there have been a total of 6,955 cases, with 6,160 considered resolved or recovered.

Saskatchewan reported two more coronavirus cases on Thursday, one in the far north and one in the Saskatoon area. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

WATCH | An infectious disease specialist answers questions about COVID-19, including whether someone who has recovered can stop physical distancing:

An infectious disease specialist answers viewer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether someone who has recovered from COVID-19 can stop physical distancing. 2:46

Manitoba reported two more cases on Thursday, bringing the provincial total of confirmed and presumptive cases to 294, with 273 considered resolved. The province, which is preparing to reopen schools for limited programming including one-on-one and small group instruction on June 1, has reported seven deaths. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

Ontario’s long-term care minister said 19 long-term care homes are still considered “red” or “high risk,” but would not say if the province will identify them publicly. “If you really look at the dynamic nature of what’s happening in our homes, our homes are shifting,” Merrilee Fullerton said, noting that their status can change daily. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government should release the list so that families can know which homes are struggling. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

WATCH | Lack of data hampers Ontario’s fight against COVID-19:

Issues continue to surround Ontario’s failure to gather and share data about COVID-19, which many say is key to controlling outbreaks. 1:44

Quebec reported 563 new COVID-19 cases and 74 new deaths on Thursday, bringing its death toll to 4,302. The province has reported a total of 49,702 cases, with 15,618 of the cases listed as resolved. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.

In New Brunswick, the threat of a growing COVID-19 outbreak forced the adjournment of the provincial legislature Thursday and delayed by a week the planned loosening of some restrictions in the province’s recovery plan. The moves came a day after officials confirmed a health-care worker who travelled outside New Brunswick had failed to self-isolate upon their return and subsequently infected other people in the Campbellton area. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

Dr. Jennifer Russell announced three new COVID-19 cases in the Campbellton area on Thursday, bringing the province’s active case number up to six. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Nova Scotia reported two new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 1,055, with 977 considered resolved. The province has reported 59 deaths to date, with most linked back to the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.

People who live in Prince Edward Island’s long-term care homes will be able to see visitors again as of June 1. The visits will be by appointment, will have time limits and will happen outside in a bid to prevent infection, officials said. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.

WATCH | Buying or selling a home during the pandemic — what to expect:

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed what happens when you buy or sell a house. Andrew Chang walks through what’s changed in the real estate game. 1:48

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new coronavirus case on Thursday after going 20 days without any new cases. The case is related to travel, health officials said. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

Nunavut, which is the only province or territory in Canada that has no confirmed COVID-19 cases, has extended its public health emergency until June 11. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said Thursday that the territory’s border won’t be reopened soon. “Right now, travel into Nunavut from outside of the territory represents the highest risk,” he said. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

WATCH | Italians nervous as regional borders reopen:

Many Italians are concerned about the potential for more COVID-19 spread as the country reopens its borders to free travel and people start returning to workplaces. 1:58

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