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University of Kansas students demand campus close amid rising infections; 23 COVID cases now tied to GTA wedding celebrations; Ontario reports 158 new cases

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KEY FACTS

  • 10:49 a.m.: Ontario is reporting 158 new cases of COVID-19 today, with two more deaths due to the coronavirus.

  • 10:07 a.m.: York Region Public Health has traced back 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to wedding events in Toronto, Markham and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

  • 7:45 a.m.: The Public Health Agency of Canada expects higher demand for influenza vaccines amid a possible double whammy of COVID-19 and flu infections.

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

7:15 p.m.: A student group at the University of Kansas is calling for a strike as reported coronavirus cases on campus number nearly 550.

Jayhawker Liberation Front, a student-run club, is calling on students to stay home from their classes on Monday, which is Labour Day, to demand the campus move to remote learning.

“Our institutions have failed us,” the club leaders tweeted. “(The University of Kansas) has put profits over the people. Enough is enough.”

As of Thursday, the university reported 546 cases after testing 22,563 people, which included all students, faculty and staff, ahead of the start of the semester. This makes for a positive test rate of 2.42 per cent at the onset of the semester. University officials have said they plan to continue with more targeted testing of smaller groups as the semester continues.

KU Chancellor Doug Girod has said it is “unlikely” campus will close in the future.

Jayhawker Liberation Front leaders posted on Twitter: “Students have asked for more protection. Faculty/staff have voiced fears. Local publications have been vocal against the re-opening. Despite overwhelming concerns, campus re-opened.”

6:30 p.m.: York Region Public Health has now traced back 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to wedding events in Toronto, Markham and the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

 

The four separate events, involving the same wedding, took place on Aug. 28 at a private residence in Stouffville, at the Rexdale Singh Sabha Religious Centre in Toronto, as well as Lakshmi Narayamandir Temple in Toronto and on Aug. 29 at a home in Markham.

Of the 23 people who tested positive for the virus, four are residents of Durham Region and one is a resident of Peel Region, while the rest live in York Region.

York Region Public Health has followed up with known close contacts of the identified cases and directed them to self-isolate for 14 days and to get tested. Public health is working with the families to notify attendees about the potential exposures.

Public health officials are advising anyone who attended these or other events related to the wedding to monitor themselves for symptoms until Saturday, Sept. 12, as they may have been exposed to the virus.

Guests are also asked to visit an assessment centre if they are concerned.

Indoor wedding and funeral venues are allowed to operate at a maximum of 30 per cent capacity in Toronto and York Region.

2:51 p.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 2:41 p.m. Sunday:

There are 131,886 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 63,497 confirmed (including 5,769 deaths, 55,871 resolved)

Ontario: 43,161 confirmed (including 2,813 deaths, 38,958 resolved) (The Star’s count is slightly different.)

Alberta: 14,474 confirmed (including 242 deaths, 12,799 resolved)

British Columbia: 6,162 confirmed (including 211 deaths, 4,706 resolved)

 

Saskatchewan: 1,643 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,579 resolved)

Manitoba: 1,323 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 898 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,085 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,015 resolved)

Newfoundland and Labrador: 269 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 265 resolved)

New Brunswick: 192 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 186 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 47 confirmed (including 44 resolved)

2:03 p.m.: Italy reported 1,297 new coronavirus cases Sunday. This is the smallest increase in five days amid lower than usual testing at the end of the week. Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri said in an interview earlier Sunday that the country’s economic rebound in the third quarter will be stronger than initially expected.

12:50 p.m.: The Royal Canadian Air Force’s attempts to capitalize on the layoffs that have ravaged Canada’s commercial airline industry during the COVID-19 pandemic have had some early — albeit extremely limited — success.

The air force has been struggling with a shortage of experienced pilots for the past few years as the number leaving for civilian jobs has outpaced the rate at which the military can replace them.

Air force commanders were already working to recruit experienced aviators back into the military before COVID-19, but they redoubled those efforts in March as commercial airlines slashed flights and workforces due to the pandemic.

The result: Four former military pilots have re-enrolled in the air force on a full-time basis since March, while five others have agreed to join as part-time reservists.

While those additions are no doubt welcome, air force spokesperson Lt. Nora Amrane says the military needs about 150 more pilots to get up to full strength.

12:45 p.m.: Quebec is reporting 205 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Authorities say there have been no additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

The province has now recorded 63,497 total cases and 5,769 deaths since the pandemic began.

Public health officials say hospitalizations went up by eight cases in the last 24 hours, for a total of 102.

Of those, 18 people are in intensive care, an increase of one from the previous day.

Quebec says it conducted 17,479 COVID-19 tests on Friday, the last date for which the testing data is available.

10:49 a.m.: Ontario is reporting 158 new cases of COVID-19 today, with two more deaths due to the coronavirus.

There were also 111 cases newly marked as resolved in today’s report.

The total number of cases in Ontario now stands at 43,161, which includes 2,813 deaths and 38,958 cases marked as resolved. (The Star’s tally is slightly different.)

Health Minister Christine Elliott says Toronto is reporting 49 new cases, Peel Region 44 and Ottawa 21.

She says 29 of the province’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer new cases.

The province was able to complete 28,955 tests over the previous day.

10:07 a.m.: York Region Public Health has traced back 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to wedding events in Toronto, Markham and the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

The events took place Aug. 28 at a private residence, at the Rexdale Singh Sabha Religious Centre in Toronto, as well as Lakshmi Narayamandir Temple and on Aug. 29 at a private residence.

The local public health units are advising anyone who attended these or other events related to this wedding to monitor themselves for symptoms until Saturday, Sept. 12, as they may have been exposed to the infection.

York Region Public Health has followed up with known close contacts of the identified cases and directed them to self-isolate for 14 days and to get tested. Public health is working with the family to notify attendees about the potential exposures.

9:32 a.m.: India saw another record surge of 90,632 cases in the past 24 hours, as infections spread to smaller cities and parts of rural India. According to the health ministry, India’s caseload reached 4,113,811, slightly short of Brazil’s confirmed 4,123,000 infections.

The ministry on Sunday also reported 1,065 deaths for a total of 70,626. More than one million cases have been detected in India in less than two weeks. Authorities say India’s daily testing exceeds one million now.

8:53 a.m.: In Iowa, some drivers took advantage of roads and highways emptied by the coronavirus pandemic by pushing well past the speed limit, a trend that continues even as states try to get back to normal.

The Iowa State Patrol recorded a 101 per cent increase from January through August over the four-year average in tickets for speeds exceeding 100 mph, along with a 75 per cent increase in tickets for speeds of 25 mph or more over the posted speed limit.

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California Highway Patrol officers issued more than 15,000 tickets from mid-March through August 19 for speeds exceeding 100 mph, more than a 100 per cent increase over the same time period a year ago. That includes a continuing spike from May on.

The most likely explanation is drivers taking advantage of more open roads because of the pandemic, said Officer Ian Hoey, a spokesperson for the California agency.

8:10 a.m.: Hundreds of thousands of ship workers around the world have been thrown in limbo by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They’ve been confined to their vessels and can’t spend leisure time ashore while international travel restrictions have made it complicated and difficult for shipping companies to replace crews.

Peter Lahay, the Canadian co-ordinator for the International Transport Workers’ Federation, estimates some 400,000 seafarers around the world are currently past the end of their contracts because they have no way to get home.

7:48 a.m.: Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is responding “optimally” to COVID-19 treatment but is the most vulnerable type of patient and is in “the most delicate phase” of the virus, his personal doctor said Sunday.

Dr. Alberto Zangrillo repeated Sunday that he nevertheless remained “cautiously optimistic” about Berlusconi’s recovery.

The three-time premier turns 84 in a few weeks and has had a history of heart problems that required being fitted with a pacemaker several years ago. He checked into the San Raffaele hospital in Milan early Friday after testing positive for the virus earlier in the week. At the time he had the early stages of a lung infection.

Data from Italy’s Superior Institute of Health indicates that men aged 80-87 have the highest COVID-19 death rate among all cases in Italy, at 47 per cent.

7:46 a.m.: There are 131,319 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 63,117 confirmed (including 5,767 deaths, 55,724 resolved)

Ontario: 43,003 confirmed (including 2,811 deaths, 38,847 resolved)

Alberta: 14,474 confirmed (including 242 deaths, 12,799 resolved)

British Columbia: 6,162 confirmed (including 211 deaths, 4,706 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 1,643 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,579 resolved)

Manitoba: 1,294 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 852 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,085 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,015 resolved)

Newfoundland and Labrador: 269 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 265 resolved)

New Brunswick: 192 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 186 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 47 confirmed (including 44 resolved)

Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Total: 131,319 (0 presumptive, 131,319 confirmed including 9,141 deaths, 116,050 resolved)

7:45 a.m.: The Public Health Agency of Canada expects higher demand for influenza vaccines amid a possible double whammy of COVID-19 and flu infections. It’s recommending provinces and territories consider alternate ways to deliver immunization programs this season.

Spokesperson Maryse Durette said the agency has ordered 13 million doses of the flu vaccine compared with 11.2 million last year.

A study by University of British Columbia researchers published recently in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests the COVID-19 pandemic may be motivating more parents to get their children vaccinated for flu.

It found that was the case for 54 per cent of parents, up 16 percentage points from last year, among 3,000 families surveyed in Canada, the United States, Japan, Israel, Spain and Switzerland.

7:43 a.m.: The death toll from the coronavirus in Israel has surpassed 1,000, as the government on Sunday mulled steps for imposing new restrictions to quell a resurgence in infections.

Israel had earned praise for its early handling of the virus crisis and imposing tight movement restrictions. Since reopening the economy in May, however, new cases have spiked to record levels and the government has been blamed for mismanaging the resurgence. Weekly protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his corruption trial have expanded to include demonstrations against his handling of the health crisis and the resulting economic pain.

More than 3,000 new cases a day have been confirmed in the most recent spike, raising the spectre of a renewed nationwide lockdown.

7:39 a.m.: The premier of Australia’s Victoria state announced a slight easing of restrictions in Melbourne but the country’s second-largest city will remain in lockdown until at least Oct. 26.

On Sunday, health officials said Victoria recorded 63 new cases and five more deaths. It takes the state’s total fatalities to 666 and the national death toll to 753.

Sunday 7:37 a.m.: The U.S. Bureau of Prisons directed all federal prisons to reopen visitation for inmates by Oct. 3 in a memo sent to wardens last week, a move that representatives for correctional officers said would be dangerous and “opening Pandora’s box.”

The Bureau of Prisons suspended visitors coming to see inmates in March amid concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Six months later, it is directing wardens to open visitation under “non-contact only” rules.

“Social visiting will resume no later than Saturday, October 3, 2020, in accordance with the guidance below,” the memo sent on Monday states. “Wardens will immediately begin developing local procedures to reinstate social visiting.”

Source:- Toronto Star

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Canada confirms 873 more coronavirus infections as cases continue to surge – Global News

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Canada has diagnosed 873 more people with the novel coronavirus, bringing the country’s surging case count to 143,527 on Sunday.

Provincial and territorial health authorities reported six more people had died from the virus, although those numbers are incomplete as British Columbia, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, the Yukon and Northwest Territories did not report updates over the weekend.

Since the pandemic began, 9,217 people have died from COVID-19 in Canada, while 124,691 have recovered from the virus after falling ill. So far, more than 7.8 million tests have been administered across the country.

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Twenty new cases and no new deaths were reported in Saskatchewan. A total of 1,807 infections have been diagnosed there since the pandemic began. Of those, 24 patients have died and 1,643 have recovered.

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Health officials have administered 171,945 tests so far.

In Manitoba, provincial health authorities detected 29 new confirmed cases of the virus, though one previously announced diagnosis was removed from the total. Overall, the province has recorded 1,586 cases.

As of Sunday, the province had administered 164,177 tests in total, while 1,216 people had recovered after becoming infected and 16 people had died.

Ontario has diagnosed 46,849 people with the the virus, including 365 announced Sunday along with one more death.

To date, 2,827 people have died throughout the province while more than 3.5 million tests for COVID-19 have been conducted and 40,968 people have recovered.

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In Quebec, the province hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials confirmed 462 new cases of the virus, bringing the provincial tally to 67,542.

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In total, the province has confirmed 5,802 people have died from the virus, including five deaths on Sunday. One of those deaths occurred within the last 24 hours, while the other four occurred earlier this month. So far, more than 2 million people in Quebec have been tested for the virus, while 58,796 have recovered.






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New Brunswick reported no new cases of COVID-19 or deaths relating to the virus, and only one case remains active. The provincial tally remains at 194 confirmed diagnoses and two deaths.

There have been 69,791 tests for the virus administered by the province.

Nova Scotia’s provincial cases numbers remained at 1,086 after health authorities detected no new infections or deaths. In total, 88,514 people have been tested, 65 have died and 1,021 are in recovery.

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Newfoundland and Labrador saw no new cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday. The provincial total remains at 272, while health authorities said a total of three people had previously died from the virus.

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N.L. has conducted more than 37,738 tests for COVID-19, while 268 people have recovered from the virus.

Nunavut confirmed its first two cases of the virus on Saturday. However, a spokesperson from the territory said the cases will not be counted in Nunavut as the individuals who contracted COVID-19 were not residents.

“[The cases] will be counted in the jurisdiction where they contracted the virus,” they said.

So far, 2,593 tests have been administered in Nunavut.

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In British Columbia, provincial health officials reported a total of 7,720 cases on Friday and 223 deaths.

In Alberta provincial health officials recorded 107 new infections Friday for a cumulative total of 16,381 infections and 255 deaths.






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No new cases were diagnosed in Prince Edward Island during its most recent update on Wednesday, keeping the provincial tally at 57. The province has yet to see its first COVID-19-related death.

To date, 56 in the province have recovered from the virus.

All 15 confirmed cases in the Yukon have recovered. Nobody in the territory has died from the virus.

All five confirmed cases in the Northwest Territories have also recovered.

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

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Canadians are still flocking to parks and businesses as country braces for second wave – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Even though the back-to-school season has coincided with a steady rise in Canada’s active COVID-19 case count and fears that a second wave may soon be upon us, Canadians do not seem to be meaningfully adjusting their behaviour when it comes to leaving the house.

Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said Sunday that a lot of Canadians seem to be taking a “we can do whatever we want” approach to their life in recent weeks.

“It feels to me like a lot of people just threw up their hands and said ‘I’m tired of this. I’m hugging, I’m going out, I’m seeing friends,'” he told Sunday on CTV News Channel.

That feeling is backed up by data compiled by Google and Apple, which shows that Canadians are spending more time in parks and at businesses than they were even in the first half of the summer, when the country first emerged from its various pandemic-imposed lockdowns.

Google bases its public mobility reports on information gleaned from users of its services who allow the company to keep track of the destinations they visit.

According to its most recent report for Canada, dated Sept. 11, Canadians are spending 151 per cent more time in parks than they were before the pandemic began.

This can be partially explained by the calendar; of course a park will be busier in September than it was in February. More telling, though, is that based on Google’s data, park usage has steadily increased over the past few months – from 80 per cent above the baseline level in early June to 140 per cent in mid-July to 150 per cent on Sept. 11.

SPENDING LESS TIME AT HOME

Also increasing has been Canadians’ activity in retail and recreation settings – what Google terms “places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theatres.”

At the height of the lockdown, in early April, activity at these establishments was as much as 80 per cent below Google’s pre-pandemic baseline. That number has slowly crept back up ever since, even surpassing it on Labour Day weekend before settling in for a longer stay just below the baseline.

Labour Day weekend also represents a peak in Apple’s mass-collected mobility trends report for Canada. Apple found that requests made for driving directions were 88 per cent higher on Sept. 4 than they were on Jan. 13 (their pre-pandemic baseline), while requests for walking directions were up by 80 per cent. Both numbers were at their highest points in 2020. (Requests for public transit directions were about two-thirds of their pre-pandemic levels, or about four times what they were at the height of the pandemic.)

Time spent in grocery stores and pharmacies has been slightly above Google’s baseline for the past month, suggesting Canadians may be doing more supermarket shopping to make up for the decreasing number of meals eaten out.

The amount of time spent at home, meanwhile, has fallen from 20 per cent in early May to 10 per cent in mid-July to eight per cent on Sept. 11.

Taken together, all of this implies Canadians feel safer leaving their homes now than they did not only early on in the pandemic, but also for most of the summer.

That would certainly make sense if the novel coronavirus was still slowing its spread across Canada – but aside from Atlantic Canada and the territories, that’s hardly been the case.

Canada’s active case count has been rising since early August and is more than double what it was one month ago, according to a CTV News tally. Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia have all begun to re-enact some of the restrictions lifted earlier in the summer. All four provinces show similar patterns in the Google data, with their residents spending less time at home and more time out in public than they were even a month or two ago.

“We know what to do; we just aren’t necessarily doing it as well as we could,” Dr. Brian Conway, president and medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, said Sunday on CTV News Channel.

“Certain individuals are making decisions … not to follow all of the public health recommendations, and this leads to an increase in cases.”

IS IT QUARANTINE FATIGUE?

Because of the increasing COVID-19 diagnosis numbers and rolling back of reopenings, there is a rising belief that Canada is on the precipice of a second wave of the pandemic.

Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, told CTV News Channel on Sunday that she believes “some form of a second wave” is already underway in Ontario and Quebec.

“We don’t know yet if it’s going to be a big wave or one of those smaller waves that we can control. That really, really depends on how people manage themselves,” she said.

Dr. Theresa Tam said this week that “the time to act is now,” noting that the daily new case numbers more accurately reflect how society was responding to the virus two weeks ago than how it is responding today.

Of course, the rising numbers do not come as a surprise to Canada’s chief public health officer. She warned in July that Canada could see a “backslide” if too many Canadians continued to ignore public health advice, and cautioned in August that the fall would be a “period of challenge” due to cooling weather and the back-to-school period.

On the surface, something doesn’t add up. The warnings from authorities have been constant and consistent, and are starting to come true – and yet Canadians are still spending more time in public, where contact with the virus is more likely.

One possible explanation is that quarantine fatigue has set in.

Also known as pandemic fatigue, response fatigue and many other terms, quarantine fatigue is essentially the idea that citizens are tired of the pandemic and no longer take the necessary precautions to stop it.

This is why “we can’t let our guard down” is such a common refrain from political and medical leaders – both in Europe, where the World Health Organization is now warning about quarantine fatigue as cases skyrocket, and in Canada, where authorities hope to avoid the same scenario.

Barrett said that Canadians “really need to take to heart” the advice from public health leaders, spending less time outside the home and keeping their social circles to a small number.

“If people are able to do the things that have already been suggested, we may be able to keep a handle on things,” she said.

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Canada adds more than 800 new coronavirus cases, 6 deaths – Global News

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The number of Canadians who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus grew by 865 on Saturday, while the national death toll rose by six.

There have been 142,654 cases since COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Canada in late January and 9,211 deaths overall.

Across the country more than 7.7 million tests have been conducted throughout the pandemic, and 87 per cent of all cases are resolved.

The number of new cases being reported daily has increased by more than 60 per cent in the last two weeks, and demand for testing has increased sharply as well.

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Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said on average about 849 cases were reported per day in the last week.

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“I urge all Canadians to take action now to slow the spread of the virus. In addition to strict adherence with personal protective measures (e.g. physical distancing, handwashing and wearing non-medical masks where appropriate), we must all reduce our number of contacts to a minimum,” she said in a statement.

“Most importantly, stay home and isolate yourself from others if you are experiencing any symptoms, even if mild.”

The vast majority of the new cases occurred in Ontario and Quebec, though Saturday’s numbers are incomplete because the territories, Alberta, B.C. and P.E.I. do not release daily statistics on the weekend.






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Quebec announced 427 new infections, bringing its total to 67,080. Five deaths were recorded, three of which occurred earlier this month, officials said.

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Premier François Legault said Saturday he has tested negative for COVID-19 but would remain in isolation until Sept. 28.

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Legault and his wife were tested after meeting with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole — who has since tested positive.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford announced the province would be extending restrictions on private events to all areas of the province.

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Earlier in the week, new limits on the number of people allowed to gather were announced for virus hotspots such as Toronto and Ottawa.

“Over the past several days, we have seen alarming growth in the number of COVID cases in Ontario,” Ford said.

“The alarm bells are ringing. And too much of it has been tied to people who aren’t following the rules. People who think it’s OK to hold parties, to carry on as if things are back to normal. They aren’t.”






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Ontario added 407 new cases on Saturday and one new death was announced. The province has seen a cumulative total of 46,848 infections.

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Officials in Saskatchewan said they hit a record high in testing on Friday, with 2,873 samples taken. There were 11 cases discovered. Overall, the province has seen 1,787 cases and 24 fatalities.

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In Manitoba, 18 new cases were reported Saturday. The province has the lowest cumulative case total in Western Canada at 1,558, including some cases considered presumptive.

Nunavut reported its first two confirmed cases Saturday. The two people diagnosed are workers at the Hope Bay Mine, located southwest of Cambridge Bay, officials said. They are believed to have been exposed to the virus in their home province.

“Hope Bay Mine is an isolated location, and no Nunavut residents currently work there. The risk of COVID-19 spreading in our communities because of these cases remains very low,” Health Minister George Hickes said in a statement.

There are currently no other active cases in Canada’s North. The infections previously announced in Yukon and Northwest Territories — 20 in total — have long been resolved.

Three out of four provinces in Atlantic Canada provided updates on the pandemic Saturday but no new cases were announced. There are only a handful of active cases remaining in the region.

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On Friday, British Columbia added 179 new cases, though 40 of them dated back to early August, and Alberta reported 107 new positive tests.






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Coronavirus: Yaffe says Ontario is in a wave, but unclear if province has entered the ‘big second wave’


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On Saturday, the U.S. coronavirus death toll was poised to reach 200,000, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Around the world, more than 30 million people have been diagnosed with the illness, and nearly 954,000 people have lost their lives.

—With files from The Canadian Press, Mickey Djuric, Ryan Rocca and David Lao, Global News

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

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