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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):
6: 45 p.m.
Alberta is reporting 556 new COVID-19 cases, including 99 which are variants of concern.
It’s not as high as Friday’s jump of 696 new infections and 130 variants.
But the number of patients in Alberta hospitals today climbed to 279, with 47 of those patients in intensive care.
Premier Jason Kenney said earlier this week that COVID-19 data looked promising as his cabinet prepared to meet Monday and decide whether to further ease public health restrictions.
Kenney said the key metric is the hospitalization rate, which has been well under 300 for three weeks, but has risen steadily in recent days.
The 300 figure was announced in January as the benchmark needed before Alberta could move to the third phase of its reopening plan.
The province’s chief medical health officer says there have also been four new deaths of people with COVID-19.
5: 25 p.m.
Nunavut no longer has any active cases of COVID-19.
The territory hasn’t recorded a new case of the virus in six days.
Arviat, on Hudson Bay, had seen a recent outbreak but just two cases remained active as of Friday.
The territory’s website says those infections were no longer active as of today.
Premier Joe Savikataaq, who hails from Arviat, congratulated the community on Twitter for reaching zero active cases, saying the people’s strength and hard work has paid off.
4: 05 p.m.
Health officials are reporting 200 new COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan.
The province says 91 are from the Regina area, where more infectious variants of the virus have been spreading for weeks.
The Ministry of Health says 504 of the 590 presumed variant cases in the province have been found in the region.
There are 135 people in hospital provincewide with COVID-19, with 27 in intensive care.
2: 30 p.m.
Manitoba is reporting one new death in a person with COVID-19 today.
The province’s daily pandemic update says the person was a man in his 80s from the Winnipeg Health Region.
The update says there are 87 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba.
The total cases of variants of concern in the province stands at 76, the same as was reported Thursday.
But the province says it only announces variants once a screening and sequencing process is completed and notes the numbers aren’t included in daily new case counts.
12: 45 p.m.
Newfoundland and Labrador is down to just five active cases of COVID-19.
All of those are in the central region, with most of the province now having no active cases.
There is one person in hospital.
12: 30 p.m.
Two new cases of COVID-19 are being reported in Nova Scotia today.
One of the cases is a close contact of a previously reported patient, and the other infection is under investigation.
Meanwhile, with overall case numbers at just 17, a number of restrictions in Halifax and surrounding communities are being lifted.
Residents of long-term care facilities in those areas will now be permitted to have visitors aside from their designated caregivers, and bars can stay open until 11 p.m.
12: 10 p.m.
New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19, all in the Edmundston area.
One person is under 20, another is in their 30s and a third person is in their 60s.
The number of active cases in the province is now 49.
Public Health is reminding travelers entering from outside the province they have to self-isolate for two weeks, as the Atlantic travel bubble isn’t set to take effect again until April 19.
11: 10 a.m.
Quebec is reporting 775 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one in the past 24 hours.
Provincial health authorities say hospitalizations increased by one to 505, while the number of intensive care cases remains unchanged at 99.
The province administered 41,338 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
This brings the total to 915,653 doses since the campaign began, representing about 10.8 per cent of the population.
The province has reported 301,691 infections, 10,594 deaths and 284,203 recoveries and currently has 6,894 active cases.
10: 30 a.m.
Ontario is recording 1,829 new cases of COVID-19 just as public health restrictions in some hard-hit areas are set to ease.
Today’s figures come as restaurants located in grey or so-called lockdown zones of the provincial pandemic response plan get the green light to offer outdoor dining service.
In red and orange zones, restaurant capacity limits on indoor dining are rising sharply as of today.
Red-zone eateries can now host 50 people inside rather than 10, while the limit in orange zone restaurants is doubling from 50 to 100.
Ontario is also reporting 11 new virus-related deaths over the past 24 hours.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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