Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on April 26
Alberta warns risk of transmission of COVID-19 at 'unprecedented' level
- Alberta reports a COVID-19 testing positivity rate of 11.4% as it announces 1,539 new cases.
- Quebec announces the death of a woman who received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
- Nova Scotia reports 96 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, tightens restrictions.
- Federal government insists Ontario must make provincial businesses pay for sick leave.
- Ontario opens COVID-19 vaccine appointments for those 45+ in hot spots, some child-care workers.
- 1st B.C. nurse known to die of COVID-19 spent her life caring for others, husband says.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing masks outdoors, except in crowded settings.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: COVID@cbc.ca
Alberta's chief medical officer of health had a sobering message for residents on Tuesday, warning that there is currently "an unprecedented risk of transmission" of COVID-19 across the province.
"There is no one source or sector that is driving this spread that we're seeing," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during an afternoon briefing.
"It would be simpler if there were just one cause. Instead, the virus is spreading through all of us, and the many in-person get-togethers, meet-ups and other interactions that we have with other people every day."
The third wave of the pandemic has been especially hard on the province's oilsands, where there are currently 12 outbreaks.
The province reported 1,539 new cases on Tuesday, along with seven more deaths and a record test positivity rate of 11.4 per cent. "We are still heading in the wrong direction," Hinshaw warned.
There are currently 635 people in hospital because of COVID-19, with 143 in intensive care.
Beginning today, and over the next two weeks, Edmonton, Calgary and North Zones will be reducing scheduled surgical activity up to 30 per cent, as well as reducing some non-urgent procedures and ambulatory appointments.—@AHS_media
-From CBC News, last updated at 7:25 p.m. ET
What's happening across Canada
As of 8:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 1,194,995 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 84,313 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 24,065.
Quebec has confirmed a woman from the province has died after she received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in early April.
Tests at the McMaster University laboratory in Hamilton studying blood clots related to COVID-19 vaccines showed the antibodies created by the vaccine caused the platelet problem that led to the patient's death, said Quebec's public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda.
WATCH | Risks and benefits of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine:
About 400,000 Quebecers have so far received the vaccine. The woman's death is within the vaccine's average risk, which is that serious complications arise in one in every 100,000 people vaccinated, Arruda told reporters at a Tuesday briefing.
Still, doctors say, they know people are worried.
"I would be surprised if people weren't second-guessing whether or not they should proceed to have the vaccine. At the same time we know that there's been times where we've had hundreds of deaths daily in Canada from COVID itself," Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious diseases specialist, told CBC News.
Saxinger says it is understandable that people are having an emotional response but said, for most people, the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risk.
"It is, on the face of it, a cold-hearted math calculation of, there is still benefit and we should use all available vaccines."
Quebec reported 899 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 14 additional deaths. Hospitalizations in the province stood at 667, with 170 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
WATCH | 'We're all linked to each other,' says N.L. nurse bound for Ontario:
Ontario on Tuesday reported 3,265 new cases and 29 additional deaths. The province — which will be receiving help from military medical teams and health-care workers from Newfoundland and Labrador — on Tuesday reported that 2,336 people were hospitalized, including 875 people in ICU due to COVID-related illness.
In the North, Nunavut was the first territory to report an update on Tuesday as officials registered eight new cases of COVID-19. Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a tweet there were 49 active cases of COVID-19 in the territory, with 45 of them in Iqaluit.
Health officials in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, which recently reported a second COVID-associated death, had not yet provided updates for the day.
Nova Scotia — which recently stepped up restrictions in the face of rising case numbers — reported 96 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, marking yet another daily high for the province. Premier Iain Rankin tightened restrictions even further Tuesday, announcing a two-week provincewide shutdown of all schools and the closure of all indoor retail and dining, except for curbside pick-up and delivery. All indoor recreation and cultural events will also close.
"We're in a different situation than we were a year ago," said Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer. "COVID variants require us to work faster, be firmer and have a broader reach."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said the Canadian Armed Forces is deploying 60 service members to help out at COVID-19 testing centres in Nova Scotia. The province asked for help as the number of cases has been rising quickly, especially in the Halifax region, the prime minister said.
There were no new cases reported in Newfoundland and Labrador or Prince Edward Island on Tuesday. Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I's chief public health officer, urged people to follow the rules and said that what is happening in Nova Scotia could easily happen on the island.
BREAKING: No new cases of COVID-19 today in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PEI?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PEI</a>. There are now 11 active cases, 177 since the pandemic began. Two recent cases have been confirmed as the B.1.1.7 variant originally found in the UK. More details to come <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCPEI?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCPEI</a>—@JWayneCBC
New Brunswick reported 24 new cases and one death, a person in their 20s from Moncton. The province is keeping two universitis and a college under lockdown after six cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in a residence.
Manitoba — which has seen an uptick in more transmissible variants of concern — on Tuesday reported 218 new cases of COVID-19 but no additional deaths.
As of Wednesday, Manitobans will not be allowed to have any visitors at their homes, either indoors or outdoors, with some exceptions for people who live alone, the provincial government announced. As part of the measures, attendance at religious services and retail store capacity will also be lowered, Premier Brian Pallister announced.
WATCH | Manitoba warns it is in a precarious situation:
Meanwhile, in Saskatchewan, health officials on Tuesday reported 224 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths, with continued spread of variants of concern. Premier Scott Moe announced further expansion of vaccine eligibility beginning Wednesday for anyone 30 years and older in northern Saskatchewan and 42 and older in the rest of the province.
British Columbia reported 799 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and no deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 500, including 164 patients in intensive care, slightly up from yesterday.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 6 p.m. ET
What's happening around the world
WATCH | Life is returning to normal in parts of the post-COVID world:
As of Tuesday evening, more than 148.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.1 million.
The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi will help manufacture the Moderna coronavirus vaccine beginning in September, joining other companies assisting with production of one of the three vaccines now approved in the U.S.
Under the agreement announced Monday, Sanofi will handle final manufacturing steps, including filling, inspecting and labelling vaccine vials and packaging them. The deal involves up to 200 million doses of Moderna's two-shot vaccine. Sanofi will do the work at its existing manufacturing plant in Ridgefield, N.J.
In the Americas, the Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Monday rejected importing the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine requested by state governors battling a deadly second wave of the virus.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Sri Lanka on Tuesday closed schools in the capital and suburbs for four days and made work-from-home plans for state workers to contain a growing outbreak.
After weeks of reporting fewer than 300 new cases daily, Sri Lanka confirmed 997 during the past 24 hours. Most were in the Colombo district that includes the capital.
In the Middle East, three cases of the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa have been confirmed in Iran's south, state television reported Tuesday. "We have received a report that said in one of our southern provinces we have found three cases of South African coronavirus variant for the first time," Health Minister Saeed Namaki said on a state TV broadcast.
In Africa, health authorities are reallocating about 75 per cent of Democratic Republic of Congo's 1.7 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses to other African countries to make sure they're used before they expire, a UNICEF representative said on Monday.
In Europe, several countries have stepped up with aid to India in the form of much-needed oxygen. A shipment from Britain, including 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators, arrived in New Delhi, while France is sending eight large oxygen-generating plants this week. Ireland, Germany and Australia are also sending oxygen concentrators and ventilators, an Indian Foreign Ministry official said, underlining the crucial need of oxygen.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 1 p.m. ET
With files from The Canadian Press, Reuters and The Associated Press