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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada on April 22

A medical worker performs a mouth swab on a patient to test for Covid-19 coronavirus, in tent extension of the Rigshospitalet Hospital, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday, April 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):

5:55 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 306 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths linked to the illness.

That brings the total number of cases to 3,401 and 66 fatalities in the province.

So far, 1,310 people have recovered.

Premier Jason Kenney has also announced that Alberta is loaning 25 ventilators to help Quebec during the crisis.


5 p.m.

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he wants to be cautious about reopening the province after COVID-19.

He says two recent outbreaks at the Mission prison and at a Vancouver poultry processing plant are warnings that the public can't be complacent about the virus.

Horgan says he'll follow the science for advice in lifting of restrictions in the weeks ahead.

He says B.C. residents don't want to give up the progress they've made by easing restrictions too quickly.


3:47 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting six new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the province up to 326.

Health officials say 261 people have recovered so far.

Premier Scott Moe is to give a televised address tonight about how the province has responded to the pandemic.

He will also present a plan tomorrow about reopening the economy.


3:20 p.m.

The Manitoba government says it will release a plan next week to gradually loosen some of the restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says the plan is to let more businesses open, and to raise the 10-person limit on public gatherings.

But he says any large crowds will not be permitted for months and physical distancing to contain the spread of the virus will continue for the foreseeable future.


2:20 p.m

Manitoba is reporting two new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total up to 257 (246 confirmed, 11 probable).

Health officials say 154 people have recovered so the number of active cases has dropped by two from yesterday to 97.

The number of deaths in Manitoba remains unchanged at six.


1:45 p.m.

For the fourth day in a row, New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of COVID-19.

The provincial total remains at 118 cases.

Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell says 104 cases are considered recovered.

She encourages people to continue to stay home as much as possible and to practice social distancing.


1:35 p.m.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is calling in military assistance as the province battles COVID-19 in long-term care homes.

Ford says he will formally request extra resources from the federal government today, including from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian Forces personnel.

He says the additional personnel will be deployed to five priority homes.

Ford says they will provide operational and logistical assistance so long-term care staff can focus on the care of residents.


1:30 p.m.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he will present a plan next week to slowly reopen the province's schools.

Legault says the return to class will be done gradually and will begin in regions where the COVID-19 situation is most stable.

He says attendance won't be mandatory, and parents who don't want to send their children before September won't have to.


1:25 p.m.

Premier Francois Legault is asking the federal government for 1,000 Canadian Armed Forces members to help in the province's struggling long-term care homes.

Despite extensive recruitment efforts, Legault says he was only able to fill half the 2,000 positions needed to overcome a staffing shortfall rendered critical by COVID-19.

The Canadian Armed Forces have already committed about 130 medically-trained staff and personnel members to help in care homes, but Legault said the additional people he's requesting won't necessarily have medical qualifications but can help with general tasks.

The province reported 93 new deaths and 839 new cases today, for a total of 1,134, and 839 more cases, for a total of 20,965.


12:50 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting no new cases of COVID-19.

Dr Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, says the total number of confirmed cases declined by one to 256 after one negative test result was incorrectly reported as positive.

Six people are in hospital and two are in intensive care, and 199 people have recovered.

Fitzgerald says the province will be able to relax some distancing measures in the near future, but warns that the province's citizens shouldn't expect a full return to normal any time soon.


12:50 p.m.

The country's medical officers of health are at work setting criteria that from a health perspective could provide guidance on when physical distancing restrictions can ease up.

Several provinces are now considering loosening their lockdowns.

Chief Public Health Officer Teresa Tam says criteria that might be included are the rate of hospitalizations, new cases being reported daily and how the virus appears to be reproducing.

She says the special advisory committee on COVID-19 is actively at work on the details of that guidance now.


12:50 p.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, and the provincial total remains at 26.

Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, says 24 people are considered recovered.

The province hopes to begin easing some of the public health restrictions next month, but Morrison says the ease-back plan will have to be done carefully.

She says people should only be travelling to Prince Edward Island for essential reasons.


12:45 p.m.

The Manitoba government is offering some financial aid to small and medium-sized businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Brian Pallister says interest-free loans of $6,000 will be available to businesses that have had to scale back operations.

The loans will be forgiven at the end of the year for businesses that have not qualified for federal programs.

Pallister says the money is not enough to make up for all the revenue being lost by businesses, but should help employers make it through the coming months.


12:20 p.m.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says over 576,000 people have now been tested for COVID-19 in Canada.

She says 6.5 per cent of those tests were positive.

Tam says as Canada continues to make progress in slowing the spread, there are bumps in the road that mean the country can't let down its guard.

She says a focus must be placed on stopping outbreaks in places like seniors homes and other places where vulnerable populations live together in close quarters.


12:10 p.m.

Ontario is expanding COVID-19 testing to every resident and worker in the province's long-term care homes, as nearly 450 residents have died amid growing outbreaks in the facilities.

Provincial health officials have previously resisted calls for such widespread testing of asymptomatic people.

But a new memo from the deputy ministers of health and long-term care, as well as Ontario's chief medical officer of health, tells public health units to immediately develop plans for the broad testing.

As of today, there have been at least 448 deaths in long-term care in Ontario, amid outbreaks at 127 facilities.


11:50 a.m.

Trudeau says that over the past month about 20,000 Canadians have returned to the country on repatriation flights.

He says he knows there are still Canadians all around the world who still want to come back, and the government continues to work with other countries to make that happen.

All returning Canadians are required to quarantine for 14 days.


11:30 a.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting two more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the province's total to 12.

The deaths occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.

The province is also reporting 35 new cases of the virus bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 772.

It says 10 licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors' facilities in Nova Scotia are dealing with cases of COVID-19, involving 148 residents and 65 staff.


11:25 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is unveiling a $9 billion emergency program aimed at students.

It includes a Canada Emergency Student Benefit worth at least $1250 a month from May to August.

The benefit can be accessed by those in post-secondary school now, headed to post secondary school in September or anyone who graduated after December 2019.

The government is also creating 76,000 job placements for young people in sectors currently dealing with labour shortages.


10:35 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 510 new cases of COVID-19 today and 37 more deaths.

That brings the total number of cases in the province to 12,245 — a 4.3 per cent increase over Tuesday, which is the lowest growth rate in weeks.

The total also includes 659 deaths and 6,221 cases that have been resolved, which puts the percentage of resolved cases over 50 per cent for the first time.


8:50 a.m.

The chief of a First Nation in northeastern Alberta says a local curfew has been imposed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., affecting all members of the Fort Chipewyan, Allison Bay and Doghead reserves.

Chief Archie Waquan of the Mikisew Cree First Nation says he remembers his father's stories about the influenza pandemic of 1918 and he is not going to let COVID-19 devastate his people in the same way.

Waquan says he recognizes there may be opposition to the curfew but he doesn't want a repeat of the Spanish flu outbreak when his father told him the First Nation could not bury its dead fast enough.

The First Nation has no cases of COVID-19 but proactively declared a state of local emergency last month and took other steps to ensure members have access to food and cleaning supplies.

The Canadian Press