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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Wednesday, May 5, 2021

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

6:30 p.m.

B.C.'s top doctor says the province will work to integrate children 12 years and up into its vaccination program.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say in a joint statement that people need to register to receive a vaccine as soon as they are eligible.

B.C. reported 572 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, with 6,877 total active cases.

There have been no new deaths in the past day.

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4:20 p.m.

Deaths linked to COVID-19 in Saskatchewan have passed the 500 mark.

Health officials reported two more deaths today, bringing the death toll to 501.

Since the pandemic began last year, a total of 42,203 people have been infected in the province.

Officials also say 39,452 have recovered.

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4:05 p.m.

Saskatchewan health officials are reporting 196 new cases of COVID-19 and two new deaths.

The province says the two people who have died were in their 70s – one was in Saskatchewan and the other in Regina.

Officials say 171 people in hospital and, of those, 39 are in intensive care.

The province also says it is expanding its immunization program to those 35 years of age and older.

That is from age 37 announced earlier this week.

All adults in northern Saskatchewan are still eligible to get vaccinated.

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4 p.m.

Federal lawmakers are poised to debate whether to invoke the Emergencies Act in response to the unravelling COVID-19 crisis in Alberta.

Following a request in the House of Commons from NDP Alberta MP Heather McPherson, legislators will take part in a back-and-forth on the emergency legislation Wednesday evening.

The Emergencies Act would allow Ottawa to shut down interprovincial travel and lock down areas suffering from high case numbers, among other drastic measures.

The debate comes after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney introduced tougher rules last night, including school closures and restaurant patio shutdowns.

Kenney says the rules will help arrest a surging wave of COVID-19 cases that would otherwise overwhelm the health system in the coming weeks, but the Opposition says he is doing too little, too late as the province boasts the highest case rates in North America.

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3:55 p.m.

For the first time in the pandemic, Quebec has a lower COVID-19 infection rate than Nova Scotia, as Quebec appears to be managing the third wave far better than it did previous surges.

Quebec is reporting currently 104 active cases per 100,000 people, while Nova Scotia has 108.

The change is stark not just because Nova Scotia has, until recently, experienced very small case numbers as part of the Atlantic bubble, but because for the first 10 months of the pandemic, Quebec had more overall cases than any other province.

Quebec has, however, managed outbreaks since Christmas far better than many other provinces, including Ontario, which surpassed Quebec in total cases for the first time at the end of January, and Alberta, which now has the highest infection rate in North America.

On Tuesday, Ontario had 247 active cases for every 100,000 people, while Alberta had more than double that at 534.

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2:30 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting its 39th COVID-19-related death.

Health officials say a resident in their 70s of special-care home Pavillon Beau-Lieu in Grand Falls died in hospital.

Officials are also reporting 11 new COVID-19 cases today: five in the Edmundston region, three in the Moncton area, and one in each of the Saint John, Fredericton and Bathurst regions.

New Brunswick has 145 active reported cases of COVID-19 and six patients in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care.

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2:10 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting 175 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say there are 149 cases in the Halifax area, 13 in the province's eastern zone, nine in western zone and four in northern zone.

The province has a total of 1,203 known active cases with 40 people in hospital, including nine in intensive care.

Officials say as of Tuesday, 334,775 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 36,858 people having received their required second dose.

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1:40 p.m.

Ontario says it's on track to administer first COVID-19 vaccine doses to 65 per cent of adults in the province by the end of May.

The province said last week that all adults would be eligible to book a shot starting the week of May 24.

The government says that as of tomorrow, people aged 50 and older, those with high-risk health conditions, and a number of workers who cannot work from home will be eligible to book their shots across Ontario.

That group of workers includes all elementary and secondary school workers, child-care workers, food and manufacturing workers, and agriculture and farm workers.

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1:35 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting 272 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths. 

The five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 8.8 per cent provincially and 9.2 per cent in Winnipeg.

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1:25 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting six new cases of COVID-19, all connected to travel or previously known infections.

The province typically maintains an active caseload below 10, but there are now 58 active infections reported, including two people in hospital.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said the high numbers are the result of more travellers, as well as high caseloads outside provincial borders.

She said with Health Canada’s approval today of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for kids aged 12-15, planning is underway to include that age group in the province’s vaccination efforts.

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12:30 p.m.

The federal government says Canada is sending desperately needed medical supplies to India as the COVID-19 pandemic spirals out of control.

Global Affairs Canada says Ottawa is shipping up to 25,000 vials of the antiviral drug remdesivir and up to 350 ventilators from its emergency stockpile in response to the critical situation.

The government says the Canadian military will airlift the supplies to the subcontinent.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced initial plans to provide surplus medical supplies and a $10-million cash injection for the Indian Red Cross to help procure materials like personal protective equipment.

In India, images of jam-packed hospitals and sick people sharing oxygen masks on the street are driving home the scope of the country’s latest wave, with COVID-19 deaths reaching a new high of 3,780 in the last 24 hours as daily infections rose by more than 382,000.

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12:25 p.m.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says everyone in the province over the age of 12 can soon receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

It would mean an additional 1.3 million Albertans become eligible for the vaccine.

Appointments are to be staggered to avoid overwhelming booking systems, with every Albertan born in 1991 or earlier able to book appointments starting Friday.

On Monday, appointments will be offered to anyone born between 2009 and 1992.

Kenney says outside of the northern territories, Alberta is the first jurisdiction in Canada to offer vaccines to anyone older than 12.

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11:25 a.m.

New Brunswick health officials are reporting the province's first death of someone who developed a blood clot after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the individual in their 60s received the vaccine in mid-April and developed symptoms a week later.

She says the person was admitted to hospital and died two days later.

Russell told a news conference today the risk of complications from the vaccine remains very low, between one in 100,000 and one in 250,000 doses.

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11:20 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 915 new cases of COVID-19 today and five more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by six, to 588, and 152 people were in intensive care, a drop of three.

The province says it administered over 55,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the past 24 hours, for a total of more than 3.3 million.

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11:15 a.m.

Manitoba is expanding its vaccine eligibility for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

The minimum age is dropping to 45 from 50. 

Health officials say everyone aged 18 and up will be eligible to book an appointment by May 21.

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11:10 a.m.

Health Canada Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma says she still stands behind the advice to take the first vaccine you're offered, as soon as you're offered it.

Sharma did not directly criticize advice from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization earlier this week that because of the remote risk of blood clots from the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or the one from Johnson & Johnson.

She says people do need to look at the risks of all things, and that every vaccine you could be offered in Canada is a good vaccine to take.

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10:40 a.m.

Nunavut is reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today, all in Iqaluit.

The territory's total active case count now stands at 82, with 80 cases in Iqaluit and two in Kinngait.

Both Iqaluit and Kinngait are under strict lock downs, with flights restricted and schools, non-essential businesses and workplaces closed.

Cases have also been confirmed at Iqaluit's jails, medical boarding home and homeless shelter.

A hotel in the city is being used as an alternative isolation site, where 31 people are currently staying.

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10:30 a.m.

Ontario reports 2,941 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 924 new cases in Toronto, 565 in Peel Region, and 254 in York Region.

The Ministry of Health says 2,075 people are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, with 882 people in intensive care and 620 on a ventilator.

Ontario says over 132,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Tuesday's report, for a total of nearly 5.6 million doses.

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9:45 a.m.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Moderna has confirmed its next shipment of vaccines to Canada will include more than one million doses the week of May 17.

It will be similar in size to the shipment set to land in Canada today from Europe. This week's shipment is a week ahead of schedule.

Moderna has been plagued by production issues and it's not clear yet how many doses it will deliver before the end of June. 

The company initially said it would ship 12.3 million doses between April 1 and June 30, but will only reach about one-third of that amount by the middle of May.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press