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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Friday, April 23, 2021

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 7:30 p.m. British Columbia is reporting 1,001 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 123,758. Four more people have died from the virus. Provincial health officer Dr.

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

7:30 p.m.

British Columbia is reporting 1,001 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 123,758.

Four more people have died from the virus.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say in a joint statement that new travel restrictions should serve as a reminder to stay close to home.

B.C. is also reporting a slight dip in hospitalizations after posting record numbers recently.

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6:45 p.m.

Thirty-six cases of a COVID-19 variant first identified in India have been detected in Ontario.

Public Health Ontario says the bulk of the cases were detected through screening at airports and borders.

It says six cases were identified through the agency's genomics surveillance program, and all of them were linked to international travel.

The agency says it continues to monitor the variant -- known as B.1.617 -- and others.

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5:45 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 1,690 new cases of COVID-19.

Five more people have died from the novel coronavirus.

The province says 549 people are in hospital with COVID-19, and 125 are in intensive care.

There is a total of 19,446 active cases in Alberta.

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4:15 p.m.

Ontario will not lower the age of eligibility for Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots right away.

A spokeswoman for the health minister says Ontario has approximately 337,000 doses remaining and future shipments aren’t expected until next month.

The province says it will continue offering the vaccine to people aged 40 and older for now.

That's after new federal guidelines on Friday recommended the vaccine for people 30 and older.

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3:35 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 245 new cases of COVID-19.

One additional person has also died from the novel coronavirus.

The province says 186 people are in hospital because of the illness, and 52 of them are in intensive care.

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3:15 p.m.

New Brunswick is setting up isolation hotels where most people travelling into the province will have to stay at their own expense for at least seven days.

A negative test for COVID-19 would allow them to complete a second week of isolation at home.

The rules take effect Saturday at midnight, and there are some exceptions for students, truckers and rotational workers.

Health officials are reporting 16 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today, bringing the number of active cases to 138.

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2:30 p.m.

A national advisory panel recommends people 30 and older can get a shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine if they do not want to wait for an alternative. 

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization initially recommended a pause on using AstraZeneca for people younger than 55 out of an abundance of caution after reports of rare blood clots. 

It says Health Canada released a safety assessment that showed the benefits of the shots outweigh the risks, which the committee also evaluated.

Although provinces initially paused giving AstraZeneca shots to younger people based on the committee's advice, some have since started administering it to people over 40, given the current spread of COVID-19.

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2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, received their first shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Friday at a Rexall pharmacy in downtown Ottawa.  

Pharmacist Zaineb Hassan disinfected a spot on Trudeau's left arm where the prime minister has an Indigenous tattoo, before he jokingly asked his wife to hold his right hand while he received the vaccine dose. 

Trudeau told the pharmacist he was "very excited" before Hassan injected the shot into Trudeau's arm and covered the spot with a bandage. 

Hassan then gave Grégoire Trudeau her vaccine shot and told the couple they may experience some muscle pain, fatigue or chills in the next 32 hours, and they shouldn't worry about any of that.

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1:25 p.m.

Rotational workers in Newfoundland and Labrador are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province’s eastern health authority has announced an open call for rotational workers, truck drivers, ferry workers and flight crews to sign up for a shot.

Meanwhile, the province is reporting one new case and 23 active reported cases of COVID-19.

Officials say contact tracers are still trying to determine the source of this new infection.

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1 p.m.

Non-essential travel is being restricted between three regional zones in British Columbia to try and curb the spread of COVID-19.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who is also the minister of public safety, says the new orders are being brought in using the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act.

The government is using the boundaries of three health authorities and prohibiting travel between them for non-essential purposes.

The order goes into effect today and expires on May 25.

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1 p.m.

All adults who live in three areas of Winnipeg are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Anyone 18 and older who lives in Downtown East, Point Douglas South and Inkster East can sign up for an appointment.

Adults who don't live in those areas but work there in certain jobs that deal with the public are also eligible. 

The areas are being targeted because of high COVID-19 case counts and socio-economic factors that lead to a greater risk of transmission.

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12:55 p.m.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is looking to help India as the country grapples with a devastating third wave of COVID-19.

Anand says Canada is in touch with India about a number of options that may be on the table to assist and Canada is standing ready with ventilators, personal protective equipment and other items that might be useful.

She notes she has a personal connection with the country, but on a broader level Canada is prepared to help any country in need.

Anand adds that Canada has procured 2.5 billion items of PPE, of which it has received 1.5 billion, so it has PPE that it can share with India and other governments.

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12:10 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has reached an agreement with Pfizer for 35 million booster doses for next year, and 30 million in the year after.

He says the deal includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024.

Booster shots are expected to be important as the virus continues to mutate, similar to how the flu shot is altered every year to be effective against the most dominant strain.

Trudeau says these boosters will be the latest version of the Pfizer vaccine based on research and testing, and they will help Canada keep the virus under control.

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12:05 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting 44 new cases of COVID-19 including 33 cases in the Halifax area which is under nearly full lockdown.

The Halifax total includes five school-based cases identified by health officials late Thursday.

Five other cases have been identified in the eastern health zone along with four in the western zone and two in the northern zone.

The province has a total of 150 active infections.

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11:35 a.m.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has received her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Thunder Bay, Ont.

A spokesman for Hajdu says the minister received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this morning in her northern Ontario riding.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau were set to receive their first shots of AstraZeneca later in the day in Ottawa

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11:15 a.m.

Nunavut is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19 and eight recoveries today.

There are now 37 active cases in the territory, 33 in Iqaluit and four in Kinngait.

Premier Joe Savikataaq says all those infected are in isolation and doing well.

Both Iqaluit and Kinngait are under strict lockdowns, with all schools, non-essential businesses and workplaces closed.

To date, 14,915 people in the territory of about 40,000 have had one dose of the Moderna vaccine and 11,940 have had both doses.

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11:10 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,043 new cases of COVID-19 today and 15 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by 27, to 684, and 172 people were in intensive care, a drop of two.

The province says 88,006 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered Thursday, for a total of 2,679,907.

Quebec has reported a total of 342,688 COVID-19 infections and 10,860 deaths linked to the virus.

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10:45 a.m.

Canada's top public health doctor says there's been an increase of more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases since last month, but there are signs that the spread of infections is slowing down.

Dr. Theresa Tam says average case counts have more than doubled over the past month, with upwards of 8,400 infections reported daily over the last week.

But Tam says there's reason for hope as Canada's declining reproduction rate, which represents how many people are infected by each new case.

She says this measure has fallen below the key threshold of one for the first time in weeks, meaning the rate of transmission is trending downwards.

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10:30 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 4,505 new cases of COVID-19 and 34 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 1,257 new cases in Toronto, 1,232 in Peel Region, and 412 in York Region.

She also says there are 247 new cases in Ottawa and 224 in Durham Region.

The province says nearly 134,000 people received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine since Thursday's report.

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10:25 a.m.

Ontario is reporting its first case of a rare blood clot in a person who received the Oxford-AstraZenenca COVID-19 vaccine. 

The province's top doctor says the patient is a man in his 60s who had received his first dose.

Dr. David Williams says the man has been treated and is recovering at home.

Ontario says it's the fourth case of the rare clotting condition in Canada out of more than 1.1 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses administered across the country.

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9:20 a.m.

Pregnant women in Ontario are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province says the change is in light of new information showing women who are pregnant are at high risk of severe illness.

The health minister's office says pregnant women are now considered among those with highest need for shots.

They can now book through the provincial call centre — at 1-888-999-6488 — or through local public health units.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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