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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world April 14

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa is talking to the provinces about the struggles some are having getting adequate staffing to long-term care homes, calling COVID-19-linked deaths at such facilities "terrible and tragic." Here's a look at what's happening in Canada and around the world.

Ontario, B.C. and Alberta report more deaths at long-term care homes

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province will launch an enhanced action plan to fight COVID-19 in long-term care homes. 1:59

The latest:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is talking to the provinces about the struggles some are having getting adequate staffing to long-term care homes, calling COVID-19-linked deaths at care facilities and seniors' residences "terrible and tragic."

The novel coronavirus has hit dozens of long-term care homes in Ontario alone.

In Hagersville, Ont. — about 45 kilometres south of Hamilton — the crisis at Anson Place Care Centre worsened on Tuesday, with officials saying the long-term care home has now seen 19 deaths and 73 of the home's 101 residents testing positive for the virus. The new deaths mean six more residents have died since 13 deaths were reported on Sunday.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, the region's medical officer of health, says 31 staff also have COVID-19. The health unit has tested everyone there, he says, and most were exposed to the virus about two weeks ago.

In Almonte, Ont. — about 55 kilometres southwest of Ottawa — an administrator at the Almonte Country Haven care home said Tuesday two more residents have died from COVID-19, bringing the toll there to 18.

A long-term care home in Toronto also recently reported additional COVID-19 deaths. The Eatonville Care Centre in the city's west end said the deaths of 25 residents have been linked to COVID-19. The facility, with 247 residents, has reported 49 confirmed cases and has an additional six people awaiting test results.

A body is moved from the Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto on Tuesday. (Carlos Osorio/Reuters)

Seniors are considered a higher risk group for facing severe disease or death if they contract COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The virus, which was first reported in China in late 2019, has since spread to countries around the world.

Trudeau said Tuesday that the government recognizes the tragic stories that have come out of long-term care and seniors' residences since the outbreak began.

"Our hearts go out to families who have lost loved ones in some terrible ways," he said. "We know we need to do more and that is why we are highlighting how important it is — not just for ourselves but for our loved ones, for our health-care workers, for our seniors — that we continue to follow directions."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)

Trudeau urged people to stay at home whenever possible, stay apart and wash their hands regularly.

Ottawa unveiled interim guidelines on Monday for long-term care that officials say were developed in collaboration with the provinces and territories, which have jurisdiction over the residential seniors' facilities.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health official, said Monday that in cases where they have data, "we know that close to half of the deaths that we're tracking are linked to long-term care facilities." The ratios vary depending on the province, she said, and urged people to stay home to protect seniors.

Paramedics transfer a patient to the emergency unit at Verdun Hospital in Montreal on Tuesday. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The prime minister said Tuesday that the federal government is aware that staffing at these facilities is an issue and will work with the provinces on ways to find people to work with vulnerable seniors. He pointed to Quebec, which has offered increased compensation to long-term care workers.

Different provinces have different ideas on how to proceed, he said, saying some are looking at the salary top-up being offered in Quebec.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Tuesday that there is value to having a larger conversation about how long-term care is handled overall.

"We'll need to be protecting our seniors for a long time," she said, noting that coronavirus is expected to persist for some time. "And I think there's an argument to be made that this has been an area that's needed some attention for a long time as well."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's mother-in-law lives at a Toronto residence dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. "It's a crisis here. It's terrible," one resident living there told CBC News.

"It breaks my heart watching [my wife] Karla stand outside the window in tears," Ford said. "And there's thousands of families in the same position, wishing they could jump in there and help their loved one in there."

WATCH | Ontario deploying more resources to long-term care homes:

'Come forward and help us,' said Quebec Premier François Legault as he appealed for health-care workers to step forward and help in seniors' residences. 1:37

Ford on Tuesday announced new orders allocating more resources to the province's long-term homes, saying those resources will come as soon as tonight. Specifically, he said the order will deploy more staff to the homes and make it mandatory that employees only work in one home.

In B.C., provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday three people died in the province over the weekend, all connected to care homes.

Henry said two of the deaths were in the Vancouver Coastal Health authority's jurisdiction and one was in Fraser Health. Outbreaks are ongoing in 21 long-term care and assisted-living homes, with South Granville Park Lodge in Vancouver the latest to be added to the list.

  • INTERACTIVE | Get the latest figures from your province and territory

Alberta also reported more deaths at long-term care homes on Tuesday. Chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said one person died at the McKenzie Towne care centre in Calgary — bringing the total there to 21 — and another at the Shepherd's Care home in Edmonton.

In Quebec, health officials inspected 40 privately owned long-term care homes over the weekend.

In Shawinigan, about 150 kilometres southwest of Quebec City, officials said Monday that 27 people have died at the Laflèche home, with 96 other residents and 63 workers infected.

A health-care worker walks up the stairs to CHSLD Laflèche in Shawinigan, Que., on Tuesday. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Meanwhile, in Montreal's West Island, multiple investigations are underway into the 31 deaths — at least five known to be connected to COVID-19 — at CHSLD Herron nursing home. The owners have said they reached out to the local health authority for help. The health authority, known as the West Island CIUSSS, took over administration of the facility on March 29.

Premier François Legault said that the situation was stable at most of the facilities, but noted that four or five of the homes will be monitored more closely.

Legault acknowledged that many of the problems in long-term care homes are due to a lack of personnel that began long before the pandemic and issued an appeal for any health-care workers to step forward to help. Salaries are too low to attract needed workers, especially in the private sector, which leaves those in place overworked, he said.

WATCH | Legault issues appeal for any health-care workers to step forward:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it will be weeks yet before the government can look at reopening Canada's economy, adding it will happen in phases until there is a COVID-19 vaccine. 0:58

As of Tuesday 10 p.m. ET, there were 27,063 reported cases of COVID-19 in Canada. The provinces and territories that provide public information on resolved cases listed 8,248 cases as recovered or resolved. A tally of deaths linked to the virus maintained by CBC News has 980 deaths recorded in Canada. There are two known coronavirus-related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and another in Brazil.

Public health officials have cautioned that the true number of cases is likely much higher, as the recorded figures don't capture people who have not been tested or are still under investigation.

PM says reopening will have to happen 'in phases'

Trudeau also said Tuesday it will be "weeks still" before Canadians will start seeing things look at all like normal — and even then, the process won't happen all at once.

"We recognize that it is going to be important to get our economy going, and that we will have to do it in phases," he said. "We will have to remain vigilant until such a point as a vaccine against COVID-19 is found."

Speaking outside Rideau Cottage, Trudeau said that the federal government has been in discussions with provinces and recognizes that there will be regional differences.

WATCH | Trudeau weighs in on when and how to reopen the economy: 

'You can't replace lockdown with nothing,' says Mike Ryan of the WHO's emergencies program, as some countries see cases stabilizing. 1:14

"We're going to make sure that we try to stay co-ordinated as best as possible," said Trudeau, who, like Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, faced questions Tuesday about his own movements.

Trudeau travelled to Harrington Lake, the prime minister's country residence in Quebec, to be with his family over Easter.

The prime minister also said Tuesday that anyone returning from overseas without a credible isolation plan will be required to quarantine in a hotel, with the new rules set to kick in at midnight. B.C. had previously announced stepped-up screening for travellers coming into the province from abroad, whether they were coming in over land borders or into Vancouver's international airport.

Read on for a look at what's happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

Here's a look at what's happening in the provinces and territories

In British Columbia, the agency that handles transit for the Metro Vancouver area is warning of "unprecedented cuts to service" if it does not receive emergency funding relief from the federal and provincial governments. TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond says the company is losing $75 million every month because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Desmond says TransLink has done its best to keep essential services operating, but has seen revenue cut in half since mid-March, and he warns of "cash-flow issues within weeks." Read more about what's happening in B.C.

A near-empty Canada Place is seen in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Alberta is expanding its COVID-19 testing to anyone who shows symptoms of the virus. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said starting Tuesday anyone with fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough or shortness of breath can get tested. Read more about what's happening in Alberta.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the government will be consulting with the province's chief medical officer about a plan to gradually "reopen" the economy — though he noted that would only happen if case numbers remain low. And even then, any reopening would be gradual. "There is no magic switch that we can flip that sends everything back to normal overnight." Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister wants many public servants to accept a reduced workweek, saying the move would apply to non-front-line workers and free up resources for front-line services, such as health care. Pallister says he will pitch his idea to union leaders, saying it is a better alternative than layoffs. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.

Ontario has extended its state of emergency for another 28 days. The bill to extend the measure passed during a special session Tuesday at the provincial legislature. Ford says it is too soon to relax measures as the province continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The order closes non-essential businesses and child-care centres until May 12. Read more about what's happening in Ontario.

Alicia Tamayo, 95, waves from her window at Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto on Tuesday. (Carlos Osorio/Reuters)

In Quebec, a Montreal hospital is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak among its staff. The McGill University Hospital Centre has confirmed that two patients and four staff in a 15th floor unit of the Montreal General Hospital have tested positive. In all, 30 staff members are in quarantine as a result.  Read more about what's happening in Quebec.

New Brunswick is expanding its testing criteria, said chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell, citing evolving risk. Read more about what's happening in N.B.

Nova Scotia announced 43 new cases on Tuesday, marking the single-largest daily bump for the province. Read more about what's happening in N.S.

A COVID-19 assessment centre is seen at Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, N.S., on Tuesday. (Tom Ayers/CBC Radio-Canada)

Prince Edward Island is not reporting any new cases, leaving the provincial total at 25 cases. Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says 23 of those cases are considered recovered. Read more about what's happening in P.E.I.

Newfoundland and Labrador also reported no new cases, but chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said the lack of new cases does not mean the province is out of the woods, and that another cluster could set the province back in its fight against the illness. Fitzgerald issued an additional public health order prohibiting personal care home staff from working at multiple locations, unless required under "exceptional circumstances." Read more about what's happening in N.L.

The federal government said Tuesday it's providing $130 million specifically for Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, to not only help with the health-care system's response to COVID-19, but to provide financial support for northern airlines and other businesses. Read more about what's happening across Canada's North.

Here's a look at what's happening in the U.S.

From The Associated Press, updated at 7 p.m. ET

While the crisis is far from over in the U.S., with about 25,000 dead and approximately 600,000 confirmed infections by Johns Hopkins University's count, the doomsday scenarios that were predicted just two weeks ago have not come to pass, raising hopes from coast to coast.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has joined a coalition with his West Coast counterparts in Oregon and Washington state, unveiled an outline on Tuesday for what it will take to lift coronavirus restrictions in the nation's most populous state.

Newsom said he won't loosen the state's mandatory, stay-at-home order until hospitalizations — particularly those in intensive care units — "flatten and start to decline." And he said the state will need more testing, treatments and the ability for businesses, schools and child-care facilities to continue the physical distancing that has come to dominate public life.

A sign urging people to stay home is displayed over a highway in Santa Monica, Calif., on Tuesday. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

But he cautioned that when things reopen, they won't be the same. Restaurants will have fewer tables and waiters will wear gloves and masks. Thermometers will be common in public spaces, as will masks and other protective gear. Schools could stagger arrival times of students to enforce physical distancing. And large gatherings — like sporting events, concerts and fairs — are "not in the cards," he said.

A similar coalition has taken shape in the northeast, encompassing Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

U.S. President Donald Trump — who has repeatedly expressed his desire to see the country reopened for business quickly and at one point said he would like to see churches packed on Easter — insisted Monday that he has "total" authority to decide how and when to loosen restrictions in the country. It's a notion at odds with the U.S. Constitution, which largely delegates such matters to the states.

Nurses places a nose swab into a test tube for a COVID-19 test at a mobile testing site in Sulphur, Okla., on Tuesday. (Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state has by far been America's hardest hit, ridiculed Trump's assertion, saying: "We don't have a king in this country."

While the president has issued national physical distancing guidelines, advising that people stay home, it has been governors and local leaders who have instituted the tough, mandatory restrictions, such as lockdowns and the closing of schools and non-essential businesses.

On Tuesday, Trump lay blame on the World Health Organization (WHO) and directed U.S. payments to the UN agency be halted pending a review. He said the outbreak could have been contained at its source and lives would have been spared had WHO done a better job investigating reports coming out of China.

In New York state, there were glimmers of hope even as the death toll has topped 10,800. Cuomo reported 778 deaths over the previous 24 hours but said fatalities were levelling off, and hospitalizations and the number of new patients put on ventilators were continuing to drop, showing that distancing is working.

A person's blood is collected for testing of coronavirus antibodies at a drive-thru testing site in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

At the same time, Cuomo warned against complacency: "We could lose all the progress we made in one week if we do it wrong."

Adding a dose of caution from the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the U.S. does not yet have the testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the economy.

"We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on — and we're not there yet," Fauci said.

A grocery store employee takes in a shipment of food amid long lines in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Any relaxation of the distancing rules would have to occur on a "rolling" basis, not all at once, he said, reflecting the ways COVID-19 struck different parts of the country at different times.

Fauci also said a vaccine might be possible by mid- to late winter, a slightly more optimistic outlook than his previous estimate of 12 to 18 months.

"Please, let me say this caveat: That is assuming that it's effective," he said. "See, that's the big 'if.' It's got to be effective and it's got to be safe."

Here's a look at what's happening around the world

From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

Italy's number of new positive cases for COVID-19 is at the lowest level in a month. The country has seen more than 21,000 deaths and 160,000 cases since the outbreak began.

Police have also searched the country's biggest nursing home, where 143 people have reportedly died in the past month, as multiple criminal investigations kick into gear over allegations from staff that management prohibited doctors and nurses from wearing protective masks for fear of alarming residents. The facility has insisted it followed all security protocols and says it is co-operating with the investigation.

A medical staffer holds the hand of a patient in the ICU of the Bassini Hospital in Cinisello Balsamo, near Milan, on Tuesday. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)

France's death toll has risen to 15,729 as the spread of the virus in the country appears to be stabilizing.

France registered 762 deaths over the past 24 hours in hospitals and nursing homes, said national health agency chief Jerome Salomon. The number of people admitted to a hospital every day is slowing down and the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units slightly dropped for the sixth straight day, he added.

Medical staff test a resident with COVID-19 in a nursing home of Bergheim, eastern France, on Tuesday. (Jean-Francois Badias/Associated Press)

The United Kingdom's true death toll from COVID-19 far exceeds estimates previously published by the government, according to broader official data that includes deaths in the community, such as in nursing homes.

The Office for National Statistics said that by April 3, 5,979 people in England had died with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, mentioned on their death certificates — 15 per cent higher than numbers published by the health service. Even before the new figures, the official British death toll was the fifth-highest globally and a senior scientific adviser to the government has said the country risks becoming the worst-hit in Europe.

Workers are seen at the site of a soon-to-open 460-bed hospital for coronavirus patients near Newcastle, U.K., on Tuesday. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

Turkey's health minister has reported 107 fatalities for that country in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 1,404. Fahrettin Koca also told reporters that the number of infections in the country has increased by 4,062, pushing the total number of confirmed cases to 65,111. Koca said the infection rate in Turkey is slowing down and the country could reach a peak in the coming weeks. But he insisted physical distancing efforts should be maintained.

China faced a new flare-up along its remote northern border with Russia, far from the original epicentre of Wuhan, which has all but declared victory in its battle against the pandemic. That vast border has been sealed and emergency medical units have rushed to the area to prevent travellers from bringing the virus back from overseas.

People wearing protective face masks walk on a stretch of the Great Wall of China in Beijing on Tuesday. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)

Iran's death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak in the country has reached 4,683, Health Ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV. Ninety-eight people have died in the past 24 hours, he said. The Islamic Republic is the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the new coronavirus and currently has 74,877 infected  people, according to Jahanpur.

In Brazil, two governors said Tuesday they had tested positive for COVID-19. Rio de Janeiro Gov. Wilson Witzel said that after not feeling well in recent days, he requested a test and received the positive result, while Para Gov. Helder Barbalho said he had also tested positive after members of his staff came down with the virus, although he had no symptoms.

Both governors called for people of their states to obey home shelter guidelines to avoid spreading the virus, even as President Jair Bolsonaro criticized lockdowns at the local level, saying the outbreak —  which has killed more than 1,500 and infected more than 25,000, including several of his cabinet ministers and closest aides — has been blown out of proportion.

Soldiers in protective gear are disinfected in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. (Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press)

Namibia's President Hage Geingob says the southern African country will extend its lockdown until May 5. The country of 2.4 million has confirmed 16 cases of COVID-19. In response to the economic hardships caused by the restrictions to combat the virus, the Namibian government is sending citizens a once-off payment of R750 ($55 Cdn).

Uganda extended its lockdown for three weeks until May 5. At least 33 of Africa's 54 countries have national lockdowns or partial restrictions to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Fifty-two African countries have confirmed COVID-19, with just over 15,200 cases across the continent, causing 815 deaths.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that Ontario Premier Doug Ford's mother is in a long-term care home dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, it is his mother-in-law who is in the home.
    Apr 14, 2020 9:05 AM ET

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters and The Canadian Press

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