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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada

A man exits a COVID-19 assessment centre in Toronto on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
December 22, 2020 - 4:26 PM

OTTAWA - The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada on Dec. 22, 2020 (all times eastern):

7:10 p.m.

British Columbia has extended its state of emergency for another two weeks, allowing it to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act for its pandemic response.

The state of emergency is extended through to Jan. 5 and Premier John Horgan says in a statement that residents need to keep following health orders through the holiday season.

The province reports 444 new cases of COVID-19 and another 12 deaths, for a total of 777 fatalities since the pandemic started in B.C.

A joint statement from the provincial health officer and health minister says 4,108 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in the province as clinics got underway in all health regions in the province.

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4:50 p.m.

Alberta is reporting another decrease in new COVID-19 infections.

The province says there have been 1,021 new cases in the last 24 hours.

As well, there are 11 additional deaths.

There are 802 people in hospital with the virus, and 152 of those are in intensive care.

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2:45 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 181 new cases of COVID-19.

It also says three more people, all 80 or over, have died from the illness.

That brings the death toll in the province to 125.

There are currently 124 people in hospital, and 21 of them are in intensive care.

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2:35 p.m.

The Northwest Territories says more than 1,000 people have downloaded the federal COVID-19 tracking app in the territory since it was made available in November.

Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola also says the Moderna vaccine should be approved in the coming days.

The Northwest Territories expects to receive around 51,000 doses of the vaccine, enough for 75 per cent of the territory.

The territory has already received two specialized vaccine freezers to store the Moderna vaccine.

Health Minister Julie Green says a rollout plan for vaccine distribution in the Northwest Territories is coming soon.

There are three active cases of COVID-19 in the territory and 24 total cases.

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1:50 p.m.

Manitoba health officials are reporting 155 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths.

The number of new cases continues to trend downward following restrictions that were imposed last month on public gatherings and business openings.

Health officials say intensive care units, however, are still running well above their normal capacity.

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1:50 p.m.

Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting two new cases of COVID-19 in the province today.

They are both in the Moncton zone and involve a person in their 20s who is a contact of a previous case and a travel-related case involving a person in their 60s.

There are now 46 active cases in the province and there are two people in hospital, including one in intensive care.

The Edmundston zone — which had been at an orange warning level — will join the rest of the province at the yellow level at midnight tonight.

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1:35 p.m.

Nunavut is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 today.

There are nine active cases in the territory, all in the community of Arviat.

To date, 252 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Nunavut.

One Nunavut resident died after contracting COVID-19 in the territory and another resident died after contracting it in southern Canada.

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12:50 p.m.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says 301 people were aboard two planes that were in the air when Canada suspended passenger flights from the United Kingdom on Sunday night.

He says all of those people were closely screened upon arrival and had to give detailed plans for isolating themselves for 14 days.

Blair says people arriving in Canada by plane while flights from the U.K. are barred are also being asked whether they have been in Britain.

If they have, he says those people will be subject to close monitoring during their quarantine periods.

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12:46 p.m.

The Manitoba government says 35 tickets were issued in a recent one-week period to people who violated a ban on social gatherings in private homes.

Premier Brian Pallister says people must follow the rules in order to get the province's COVID-19 numbers down.

Since April, the province has issued 559 tickets to people and businesses for a variety of offences under public health orders.

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12:45 p.m.

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

Health officials say the number of active cases in the province now stands at 40.

Three of the new cases are in the Halifax area and are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, while the other four cases are in the northern health zone and are close contacts of previously reported cases.

No one is currently in hospital.

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12:40 p.m.

The country's deputy chief public health officer says the biggest problem with COVID-19 in Canada now is community transmission, not the arrival of new cases from outside.

Dr. Howard Njoo says Canadians can't be stopped from travelling abroad, though the federal government is strongly advising against it.

In an Ottawa news conference, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says Canadians who return here are required to quarantine and will face severe punishments if they don't obey the rules.

LeBlanc says if those measures need to be toughened, the government will do so.

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12:35 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19.

Health officials say the case affects a man between 20 and 39 years old who returned to the province from work in Alberta.

He is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway.

The province now has 29 active cases of COVID-19, with one person in hospital.

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12:30 p.m.

The Manitoba government is offering to help restaurants pay for delivery costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Brian Pallister says the province is giving $5 million to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce to design a rebate plan.

The rebate is meant to help restaurants cover the cost of delivering food themselves or through a third-party service such as Skip The Dishes.

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12:25 p.m.

Canada's chief public health officer says no cases of the new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been detected in Canada so far.

But Dr. Theresa Tam says the country has more than 77,000 active cases of COVID-19.

Nearly 3,200 people were hospitalized with the illness on an average day in the past week.

Tam says Canada is still set for "an even stronger resurgence" of the pandemic and this is "a perilous time."

Tam is begging Canadians to obey public health advice to keep the situation from worsening and to protect frontline workers.

But as the end of 2020 approaches, Tam is thanking the military for its help in fighting the pandemic, researchers for developing vaccines and better treatments, industry for supplying necessary gear and equipment, and individuals who have sacrificed personal contacts to reduce the spread.

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12:15 p.m.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says "the whole research community" is working on the newly detected strain of the virus that causes COVID-19.

They're trying to determine whether it's more of a threat to public health than the more familiar strains of the virus.

Hajdu says the appearance of the new strain in the United Kingdom is a reminder that international travel is a bad idea during the pandemic.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the new strain appears to spread much more easily.

The Canadian government temporarily shut down flights from the U.K. Sunday evening.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says Canada has some of the most stringent border-protection measures in the world and is considering even stricter controls.

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12:12 p.m.

Yukon's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Brendan Hanley says he looks forward with "hope and optimism" as the territory has entered what he calls the "beginning of the end."

Hanley and Premier Sandy Silver delivered their final COVID-19 update of 2020, with Hanley confirming Yukon no long has any active cases of the virus.

Hanley says the person with the territory's last case, its 59th, was declared recovered today.

However, both Hanley and Silver say self-quarantine restrictions, limits on the sizes of gatherings and the requirement to wear masks and maintain physical distancing will remain in effect in Yukon until further notice to ensure there are no further outbreaks.

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11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 2,183 new COVID-19 cases along with 28 new deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

The Health Department says of the deaths today, 10 were recorded in the previous 24 hours.

The number of hospitalizations also increased by seven for a total of 1,055, but the number of patients in intensive care went down by nine to 137.

Officials say 437 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered on Monday.

Premier François Legault and other provincial party leaders will hold a joint news conference later this afternoon.

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10:45 a.m.

There are 2,202 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario today and 21 more deaths related to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 636 new cases in Toronto, 504 in Peel Region, and 218 in York Region.

She also says that there were more than 45,000 tests completed since the last daily update.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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