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The latest news on COVID 19 developments in Canada for Monday, Dec. 14

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 6:25 p.m. The first doses of COVID-19 vaccines are in B.C. and provincial health officer Dr.

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

6:25 p.m.

The first doses of COVID-19 vaccines are in B.C. and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says vaccinations start Tuesday in the Fraser and Vancouver Health regions, with expansion to every region by Wednesday.

She says the arrival of the vaccine is momentous news and is a first step in protecting people against COVID-19.

There were 2,146 new cases over the last three days, with a total of 42,943 since the pandemic began.

The death rate is relentless with 49 new fatalities over the same three days for a total of 647 dead.


5:40 p.m.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the first batch of Pfizer vaccine arrives Tuesday, with vaccinations of 3,900 health-care workers to begin Wednesday.

Shandro says another 25,000 Pfizer doses are coming next week and will also be administered to health workers.

Doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected by the end of the month, pending Health Canada approval.

Alberta’s new rules barring in-person service at restaurants and sharply reducing capacity at retailers have begun.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, says she is aware of reports that malls were packed on Sunday above the 15 per cent occupancy capacity, and says officials will be reaching out to make sure the rules are understood and enforced.


4:45 p.m.

The Saskatchewan government is tightening its public-health orders for the holidays. 

Premier Scott Moe says that, starting Thursday, only immediate household members can gather inside the same home, with a few exceptions.

Outdoor gatherings will be restricted to 10 people.

Casinos and bingo halls must close on Saturday, and personal care services such as hair salons will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.

Starting on Christmas Day, retail stores will be required to cut their capacity to half and large retailers will be restricted to 25 per cent.


2:45 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 269 new cases of COVID-19.

Health officials say two more people who were 80 and older have died from the virus.

In the past three days, sixteen people have been reported to have died from COVID-19, bringing the province's pandemic death total to 91.

There are 124 people in hospital, with 27 patients in intensive care.

Premier Scott Moe is set to unveil this afternoon what public-health measures will be in place in his province over the holidays.

Saskatchewan's weekly average of new daily cases sits at 262.


2:30 p.m.

Manitoba's top doctor says many people have been trying to jump the queue and get access to the first round of COVID-19 vaccines that are reserved for health-care workers in critical care units. 

Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says a phone number that allows those workers to register for a vaccination appointment got out to the public on the weekend and the system was overwhelmed. 

He says workers who were screening calls had to go through many callers to find those who were in fact qualified.


2:20 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 1,887 new cases of COVID-19, its highest daily infection rate yet.

It says 15 more people have died from the virus and 716 people are in hospital.

The province says 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are to arrive tomorrow and 25,000 will be delivered the following week.

The first shots are to be given to health-care workers in Calgary and Edmonton.


1:50 p.m.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube says Quebec City long-term care home resident Gisele Levesque received her COVID-19 vaccination at 11:30 a.m.

Dube says that makes the 89-year-old Levesque the first person in Canada to get the vaccine.

Quebec officials held off on making the announcement until just before 1 p.m., about an hour after an Ontario personal support worker was filmed receiving the shot.

Dube called it a historic day for Quebec.


1 p.m.

Quebec has administered the province’s first COVID-19 vaccine to a resident of a long-term care home in Quebec City.

Premier Francois Legault said on Twitter that 89-year-old Saint-Antoine care home resident Gisele Levesque received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Monday.

Health officials say residents of Saint-Antoine and Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Montreal will be the first vaccinated.

Health-care workers at both centres will get shots next, followed by health-care workers at other long-term care and seniors facilities.


12:20 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19 and officials say the infection is related to travel.

Officials also say a case announced over the weekend turned out to be negative.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says though the person initially tested positive, further tests came up negative and the individual in question does not have COVID-19.

The small town of Harbour Breton remains on high alert with three active cases in the community, though Fitzgerald says there is no evidence of community transmission there.


12:04 p.m.

A personal support worker from a Toronto long-term care home has become the first person in Canada to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Anita Quidangen, a long-time employee of the Rekai Centre, wore a mask and scrubs as she received the first dose at a facility run by the University Health Network.

Ontario administered the first set of vaccines to three personal support workers, a registered nurse, and a registered practical nurse who all work at the nursing home. 

Premier Doug Ford praised the workers for their dedication to their jobs and called it a historic day.

The province received 6,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday night and plans to give them to approximately 2,500 health-care workers.


11:45 a.m.

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is still finalizing how many doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Canada and when.

She says she's expecting about 30,000 doses to arrive this week and another shipment next week.

The government has said just under 250,000 doses will arrive by the end of the year, which would mean a big boost in the supply arriving in the last week of December.

The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved in Canada so far.

Anand says every country is fighting for the same shots and she hopes to give a solid update within a few days.


11:30 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,620 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 more deaths, as it prepares to administer its first vaccines later today.

Health officials say residents of long-term care homes in Montreal and Quebec City will be the first vaccinated.

Quebec has reported a total of 165,535 COVID-19 cases and 7,533 deaths linked to the virus since the pandemic began.

Hospitalizations rose by 10 over the past 24 hours for a total of 890, and 122 people were in intensive care, a decrease of one from the previous day.


11:20 a.m.

International Development Minister Karina Gould says Canada is sending $485 million more to international bodies promoting access to vaccines and therapies for COVID-19 in poorer countries.

She says Canadians won't be safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe from it, and that means helping stamp the pandemic out in countries that can't afford to do it all themselves.

The money is being spent through the World Health Organization's Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.

It includes support for a system to fairly distribute doses of vaccines that buying countries find they don't need.

Canada has contracts for hundreds of millions of doses of approved and potential COVID-19 vaccines and if they all prove effective and safe, that will be far more than it can use.


11:15 a.m.

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand says the government has hired five Canadian companies to deliver tens of thousands of kilograms of dry ice each week to keep COVID-19 vaccines cold.

She says provincial governments will be able to order dry ice on demand to make sure vaccines that have to be kept at low temperatures stay usable.

Anand says federal government has also ordered more than 400 freezers of various sizes and temperature capabilities.


11:05 a.m.

Nunavut is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19.

The infections are in the community of Arviat, which now has a total of 49 active cases.

It's the only community in the territory right now with COVID-19.

It remains under lockdown measures.


10:45 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 1,940 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 23 new deaths due to the disease.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 544 cases are in Toronto, 390 in Peel Region, 191 cases in York Region, and 114 in Windsor-Essex.

The province says it has conducted 57,091 tests since the last daily report.

In total, 857 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 244 in intensive care.


9:10 a.m.

Ontario says it will administer the province's first COVID-19 vaccination today.

Premier Doug Ford's office says a health-care worker will receive the first dose at a hospital in Toronto.

The first shots will be administered at the University Health Network.

The province was to receive 6,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine this weekend, and plans to give them to approximately 2,500 health-care workers in the first phase of its immunization plan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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