The latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada

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

2:15 p.m.

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Manitoba is reporting 24 new COVID-19 cases, 20 of them in Winnipeg.

Active case numbers continue to rise in the city and health officials are warning of a case connected to College Louis Riel high school in Winnipeg.

The province also says two previously announced cases have been connected to Maplewood Manor, a long-term care home in Steinbach.

Visitor restrictions have been put in place 1:45 p.m.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says expanding access to the flu shot is the first pillar of his province's COVID-19 fall preparedness plan.

Ford says the government is spending $70 million to obtain at least 5.1 million doses of the flu vaccine.

He says the push to get people immunized against the seasonal flu is to preserve capacity in the province's hospitals.

Ontario's health minister says the first batch of flu shots is expected to arrive next week and will first be distributed to long-term care homes, hospitals and other congregate living facilities.

--- 1:20 p.m.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says capacity for COVID-19 testing in Canada continues to be built up.

But she says it is a finite resource and testing must be carried out "smartly."

In many corners of Canada, people have complained of waiting in line for nearly the entire day to obtain tests or being turned away from testing centres at capacity.

Tam says officials are trying to broaden available test options. But she says no amount of testing will be enough if people don't shrink their social bubbles to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.


1 p.m.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says staving off future lockdowns will depend on whether people can follow COVID-19 mitigation measures.

She says keeping gatherings small and respecting the rules is a sacrifice everyone needs to make.

But she says virus activity is not the same across the country, or even across single provinces.

So she says a "surgical approach" is needed to determine whether restrictions need to be tightened and it should be targeted to regions of concern.

--- 12:57 p.m.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says it is difficult to declare whether Canada as a whole is in a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says in Ottawa itself, there is a second wave, and his colleagues in Quebec say a second wave is underway there. He says he agrees, considering what is happening in those jurisdictions, but the situation isn't the same throughout the country. Njoo says what might happen elsewhere is up to how closely everyone follows public health guidelines.

--- 12:44 p.m.

Tam has wrapped her update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada with a direct message to young people:

The novel coronavirus's spread in their cohort must be pared back for the good of the rest of the country.

Tam says young people played a crucial role in crushing the spring wave of the pandemic and they can do it again.

A review of known cases in Canada shows the incidence has remained highest among young adults since late June.


12:37 p.m. Canada's chief public health officer says the country is now at a crossroads when it comes to avoiding a major resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Theresa Tam says if the status quo is maintained when it comes to how many people are in contact with each other, there will be a surge in infections.

If people's contacts increase, the epidemic will bounce back faster and stronger, as contagious people spread the virus. But she says if the rate of contacts gets pared back, the epidemic will come under control in most place.

--- 12:35 p.m.

New federal figures are being released to show the national picture of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data suggests that based on recent infections, the number of new cases could raise as high as 155,795 by Oct. 2.

The potential number of deaths could be as high as 9,300.

--- 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Theresa Tam says COVID-19 outbreaks are now occurring in a wider variety of settings across Canada.

She says while it's not unexpected to have cases in schools, they do need to be monitored to see if they are settings for transmission.

She says that the severity of outbreaks in long term care homes has declined, but they do remain a concern. The rate of hospitalizations currently lags behind increases in reported cases but shows early signs of rising. Tam says the potential for the novel coronavirus to spread into more high-risk settings could also mean a rise in deaths.

--- 12:10 p.m. Canada has now committed more than $1 billion to buy doses of COVID-19 vaccines after securing a fifth deal with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada has a deal in place to buy up to 72 million doses of their experimental vaccine candidate, which is just starting the second of three trial phases this month.

In all, Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies, and most of that money will not be refunded even if the vaccines never get approved.


12:05 p.m. Rebecca O'Toole, the spouse of federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, has tested positive for COVID-19. The party says she began showing symptoms on Sunday, was tested that night in Ottawa, and her results came back late Monday night. Erin O'Toole tested positive on Friday for the novel coronavirus and has been in isolation. Their two children are being monitored for symptoms.


11:50 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 489 new cases of COVID-19 — almost 100 fewer cases than were reported on Monday.

Health authorities also reported today one death attributed to the novel coronavirus they said occurred between Sept. 15 and Sept. 20.

The province says the number of hospitalizations rose by 20 in the last 24 hours to 168.

Of those, 28 patients are in intensive care, two fewer than on Monday.

There have been a total of 68,617 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,805 deaths attributed to the virus in Quebec since the pandemic began.

On Monday, the province's public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said he thought Quebec had entered a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.


11:00 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 478 new cases of COVID-19 today, along with three new deaths related to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 68 per cent of the new cases involve people under the age of 40.

The province is also reporting 52 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 26 among students.

Ontario is expected to announce part of its COVID-19 fall preparedness plan today, which comes as daily virus case counts continue to climb to levels not seen for months.

--- 10:00 a.m.

The Canadian government will sign on to a global vaccine-procurement program and by week's end hopes to announce how much money it will pledge to the cause.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand is set to announce further deals with vaccine developers today as the federal government seeks to make sure Canadians have access to a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is approved.

But Canada is also joining what's known as the COVAX Facility, a global program focused on ensuring equitable access to a vaccine for all countries, regardless of their income levels.


9:40 a.m.

The federal Public Health Agency of Canada says it will release updated modelling today on the spread of COVID-19.

The agency's predictions will provide a look at what the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths might be in the short-term, based on how the virus has been spreading in recent days.

Their new figures come amid rising case counts that have seen some jurisdictions already say they are officially into a second wave of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2020.

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