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The trauma bay is photographed during simulation training at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.

Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press

Latest headlines

The latest: How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada, by province, and worldwide?

If you are returning to Canada from anywhere, you need to self-isolate: Here’s how

Explainer: What you need to know about COVID-19 and its toll around the world


10:30 p.m. EDT

Four passengers dead on cruise ship anchored off Panama, with 248 Canadians on board

Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship now anchored off the coast of Panama and two people aboard the ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the cruise line said Friday, with hundreds of passengers unsure how long they will remain at sea.

Global Affairs Canada says it is aware of 248 Canadians on the ship — 247 passengers and one crew member.

Holland America Line confirmed Canadians are not among the four dead.

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GAC says it is actively monitoring the situation and has contacted the Canadians on board to provide information on how they can protect themselves. GAC adds it is talking with Panama’s government and working with Holland America on plans to get the Canadians home.

Holland America Line said in a post on its Facebook page that more than 130 people aboard the Zaandam had reported flu-like symptoms.

- The Associated Press


9:40 p.m. EDT

Drumheller Institution in Alberta locked down, two inmates tested for COVID-19

Another federal prison in Alberta has been locked down as a precaution after some inmates showed flu symptoms.

Correctional Services Canada says two medium security unit inmates at Drumheller Institution were tested Thursday for COVID-19.

An official says the two inmates have been isolated from others as they wait for the test results.

The medium security part of the prison northeast of Calgary can house up to 582 inmates.

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Meanwhile, CSC says COVID-19 tests done earlier this month on a group of less then 10 inmates at Bowden Institution in central Alberta came back negative.

An official says one unit of the prison near Innisfail remains locked down, but other parts are operating under a modified routine.

Correctional Services Canada says to date, no inmates in any of its facilities across the country have tested positive for novel coronavirus.

- Canadian Press


9:00 p.m. EDT

Alberta’s premier rejects call to fire health minister over abuse of citizens

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has rejected calls to fire his health minister for threatening to sic legislature security on a private citizen and berating a physician in front of his family.

Kenney says Tyler Shandro and Shandro’s wife, Andrea, have been facing recent online abuse, including death threats against her, tied to unfounded allegations of conflict of interest.

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“I think any Albertan would understand that a husband or wife will get passionate when their spouse is being attacked and even threatened, and certainly defamed,” Kenney said Friday.

“I’ve told Tyler he should probably just stay away from social media, don’t be distracted by the trolls. Just stay focused on his job.

“As far as I’m concerned that’s the end of the matter.”

Kenney was responding to a CBC report that Shandro has been directly going after critics who accuse him and his wife of questionable dealings given his wife runs a supplementary health-benefits company.

The ethics commissioner has ruled Shandro is not violating conflict of interest rules.

- Canadian Press

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7:00 p.m. EDT

Yukon declares state of emergency

Yukon has declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The territory is reporting one more case of the disease, bringing the total to four.

Yukon medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley says all are doing well at home.

A statement from Yukon’s government says residents who are flying into Canada with symptoms of the virus must quarantine at their arrival destination and those who don’t have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days when they get home.

Hanley has also issued an order for all dentists to suspend non-urgent treatment until further notice.

Hanley says everyone entering Yukon to work in a mine must self-isolate for 14 days and workers can’t carry out their regular duties during that two-week period.

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- Canadian Press


6:45 p.m. EDT

Alberta beef plant halts slaughter due to positive COVID-19 tests

Harmony Beef, an Alberta packing plant, halted cattle slaughter on Friday after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) kept some inspectors from work, due to a positive test for COVID-19 by a Harmony worker, the company said.

The partial closure follows a positive COVID-19 test by a worker at U.S. chicken company Sanderson Farms Inc announced this week.

The spread of COVID-19 has led to consumer hoarding of staple groceries, making meat-processing more lucrative.

Alberta’s health department notified Harmony on Thursday that a worker who had not been on the job for days had tested positive, Harmony spokesman Crosbie Cotton said. The company then sent the other workers in his part of the slaughter area home for 14 days, even though they did not display symptoms.

In a statement, CFIA confirmed it did not provide inspection services on Friday after it learned that a Harmony employee had tested positive for COVID-19.

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Federally regulated slaughter plants are not allowed to operate without inspectors present.

- Reuters


5:00 p.m. EDT

Saskatchewan sees more COVID-19 cases, theft of hospital supplies

Saskatchewan announced nine new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 104, including two staff at a Saskatoon jail.

The Ministry of Corrections and Policing said the two workers at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre have been told to self-isolate at home while public health officials look into who they had contact with.

A spokesman said no inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. But one unit is under quarantine due to what’s believed to be another illness.

Premier Scott Moe has also said the province is looking at options for how to handle provincial inmates during the pandemic, but nothing has been decided.

Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Health Authority said some masks, gowns and shields used by doctors and nurses in the fight against COVID-19 are possibly being stolen from some facilities.

CEO Scott Livingstone issued a warning about the disappearing equipment in a letter to staff and volunteers.

He said over the past two weeks there has been an uptick in items having to be ordered.

He said an investigation is continuing.


2:25 p.m. EDT

Manitoba reports first death; introduces new restrictions

The Manitoba government reported its first death related to COVID-19 on Friday, and is reducing the size of public gatherings to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A Winnipeg woman in her 60s who was in intensive care earlier this week has died, Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, told reporters.

“It’s a tragic loss. It’s a Manitoban that we lost and our hearts go out to their friends and family,” Roussin said. “But this is our time to act now.

“To stay home if you can, practice good social distancing, wash your hands ... all Manitobans have a role to limit days like this.”

Roussin also reported three additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total in the province to 39. There was no immediate information on whether the people had travelled or had caught the virus from someone else.

Starting Monday morning, public gatherings are to be capped at 10 people, down from the current 50.

The ban will apply to church services, weddings and other events indoors and out, Roussin said. It will not apply to health facilities, homeless shelters and retail businesses, although Roussin stressed everyone will be counted on to ensure people maintain social distancing.

The idea of forcing non-essential retail outlets to close is on the table, Roussin said, but is not yet being enacted.

- Canadian Press


1:15 p.m. EDT

Quebec death toll rises to 18

Quebec is announcing 10 more COVID-19 deaths in the province, bringing its total to 18.

Premier Francois Legault said Friday the province recorded another 392 positive COVID-19 test results, for a total of 2,021 cases.

Legault says another 35 people have been hospitalized since yesterday, including seven more people who are in intensive care.The premier is also asking Quebecers to avoid travelling to Montreal and to the Eastern Townships area, which he says are the two regions of the province with the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

- Canadian Press


9:00 a.m. EDT

Yukon First Nation calls for better protection amid pandemic

A Yukon First Nation is calling on the territorial government to immediately take stronger measures to protect remote and Indigenous communities from COVID-19.

In a letter to Premier Sandy Silver, the Na-cho Nyak Dun First Nation in Mayo says not enough has been done, given the dire consequences posed by the virus.

The First Nation has passed a resolution demanding a temporary halt to prospectors moving through the region to stake land and the closure of all mines, with staff only conducting care and maintenance.

The letter asks Yukon to consider Nunavut’s robust measures to control COVID-19 and says failure to protect Yukon citizens could have “serious and irreparable consequences.”

-The Canadian Press


8:50 a.m. EDT

N.B. man facing assault charge over ‘purposely coughing’

A male in southern New Brunswick is facing an assault charge for allegedly coughing in someone’s face.

Police say they were called Thursday morning to a home on Hampton Road in Rothesay where the occupants complained that two other people had failed to isolate themselves after returning home from travelling abroad.

The Kennebecasis Regional Police Force says one male was arrested for uttering threats and assault for “purposely coughing in someone’s face while feeling ill.”

Under the province’s emergency rules for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone who returns to the province from international travel must isolate themselves from others for 14 days.

-The Canadian Press


8:40 a.m. EDT

Teen charged for causing McDonald’s closure

Hamilton police say they’ve charged a teenage fast-food employee after she allegedly faked a doctor’s note saying she had COVID-19.

Police say the 18-year-old woman worked at a McDonald’s, which was immediately forced to close on Monday and send all its employees home to self-isolate.

Investigators say the restaurant was closed for several days and sanitized by a professional cleaning team.

She’s facing multiple charges including mischief over $5000, fraud over $5000 and making and using a forged document.

-The Canadian Press


St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto as seen in a 2019 file photo.

Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press

5 a.m. EDT

Alberta looks for additional hospital beds

Alberta is continuing to work to find more bed space in anticipation of more hospitalizations as COVID-19 spreads.

Dr. Mark Joffe with Alberta Health Services says Alberta has approximately 8,500 hospital beds, and is planning for a need for 2,250 hospital beds to care for individuals with COVID-19.

Joffe says most of those beds are expected to come from freeing up existing bed space in the system through measures like cancelling elective surgeries.

Health officials are also are looking for space in previously closed hospital wards or by adding extra beds to two-bed wards if safe-distancing can be assured.

-The Canadian Press


Saskatchewan rally at centre of coronavirus warning

The president of a Saskatchewan snowmobile club that hosted a rally that’s now the focus of a COVID-19 warning says if organizers had known how it was going to turn out, they would have cancelled.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said Wednesday that two people at the Lakeland Snowmobile Club Wilderness Rally Supper on March 14th have tested positive for COVID-19.

Club president Tom McKnight says at the time, there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan and up to 250 people were still allowed at public gatherings.

The health authority says anyone who was at the event between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. should self-isolate immediately.

-The Canadian Press


4 a.m. EDT

Parliamentary budget officer reports on potential fiscal, economic cost of pandemic

Canadians will get an idea today of what the COVID-19 pandemic could mean for Canada’s economy and the federal government’s balance sheet, with the release of a new report from the parliamentary budget officer.

Yves Giroux is planning to post on his website this morning a “scenario analysis” that is intended to help parliamentarians gauge the potential economic and fiscal implications from the combined health crisis and the collapse of oil prices.

Such analyses typically involve a variety of projected outcomes based on a number of possible, alternative scenarios.

The federal government has already poured $107 billion into fighting the pandemic —$52 billion in financial assistance to individuals and businesses and $55 billion in deferred taxes — and billions more are expected to flow in the days to come.

Indeed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expecting to announce more support today for businesses and entrepreneurs.

A fiscal update issued by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in December showed the Liberal government on track to run a deficit of $26.6 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 30, and $28.1 billion next year.

-The Canadian Press


N.S. warns of potential virus exposure at St. Patrick’s Day event

Nova Scotia has announced five confirmed new cases of COVID-19 for an overall total of 73.

While most of the province’s cases are travel-related or connected to earlier cases, one of the new cases can’t currently be linked to either travel or an earlier case.

Health officials say that potential public exposure is related to a March 14th St. Patrick’s Day event at the Lake Echo Community Centre near Halifax, with nearly 50 people in attendance.

Public Health says it has been directly contacting attendees to advise on self-isolation protocols, but it advises that there may be some people it’s not aware of and it cautions people may develop symptoms up to, and including, March 28th.

-The Canadian Press


P.E.I. sees four more travel-related cases

Prince Edward Island is reporting four more cases of COVID-19, raising the provincial total to nine.

Chief public health officer Doctor Heather Morrison says the latest cases are all travel-related.

Morrison says all four are men who have returned from international travel, including two who were in Europe, one who was in the U.S., and one who was in the Caribbean.

She says all are self-isolating.

-The Canadian Press


3:30 a.m. EDT

N.B. sees seven new travel-related cases

New Brunswick is reporting seven new cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 33.

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Doctor Jennifer Russell, says all seven new cases are travel-related.

She says one of the latest cases in Prince Edward Island is someone who landed in Moncton on Air Transat Flight TS2553 from the Dominican Republic on March 18.

Meanwhile, Premier Blaine Higgs announced $50-million to help keep workers employed, and help businesses continue to operate, mainly through loans to small and medium-sized businesses.

-The Canadian Press


Newfoundland increases borrowing capacity for pandemic funding

Newfoundland and Labrador’s legislature has authorized a borrowing capacity of $2-billion as part of the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation will permit the cash-strapped province to increase its borrowing and set aside funds to respond to the pandemic.

During yesterday’s emergency sitting elected officials across party lines expressed consensus on the necessity of the measures, while cautioning about the considerable financial challenges the province faces.

Meanwhile, health officials say nine of 15 new positive COVID-19 cases announced yesterday were health care workers — bringing the provincial total to 82.

-The Canadian Press


3 a.m. EDT

Ontario health officials to provide update on hospital situation

The chair of Ontario’s COVID-19 Command Table -- who is also the deputy health minister -- will be providing an update today on the hospital situation in the province.

Helen Angus will hold a news conference with the presidents of Ontario Health and the University Health Network.

They’re due to explain how the province is addressing capacity issues in intensive care units.

-The Canadian Press


Price-gouging was in error, grocer says

A high-end grocer in Toronto says a $30 price tag on a pack of disinfecting wipes was an error.

Pusateri’s says the incorrect price was overlooked during this busy time.

The grocer released the statement after they were specifically called out by Premier Doug Ford.

The province had already been preparing an order to prevent what Ford is calling “disgusting” price-gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

-The Canadian Press


Ontario delays death inquests

Ontario is delaying two dozens death inquests due to COVID-19.

The supervising chief coroner for inquests made the announcement yesterday.

The inquests had initially been scheduled for between March 30th and June 29th.

New dates have yet to be determined.

-The Canadian Press


Researchers urge better precautions

Researchers at York University say Canada could have 15,000 cases by the end of March unless public health precautions are stepped up.

The study, to be published in the journal Infectious Disease Modelling, says further measures could cut that total by 4,000.

The researchers looked at intervention measures in different countries and found them to have been effective in reducing the growth rate of the virus and delaying the doubling of cases, which can happen in as little as three days.

-The Canadian Press


Condos pose social-distancing challenges

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert based out of Toronto General Hospital, says people need to use common sense when navigating high-traffic areas like condo lobbies, elevators and shared laundry rooms.

And while guidelines and passenger limits are great to see, he agreed it’s difficult to make sure everyone abides.

While it would be impossible to micromanage every situation, he says if the elevator door opens and it’s packed, maybe wait for the next one.

Another solution could be to just take the stairs when possible.

-The Canadian Press

The spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continues, with more cases diagnosed in Canada. The Globe offers the dos and don'ts to help slow or stop the spread of the virus in your community.

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March 27: B.C. to move forward on take-home drug supply strategy; U.S. won’t post troops at Canadian border

March 25: Toronto closes off municipal green spaces, concerns about spread in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

March 24: Government, opposition reach deal on emergency aid package

March 23: Nearly half of Canada’s COVID-19 cases now acquired through community spread

March 22: Canada refuses to go to Olympics unless postponed; Trudeau not at point of declaring federal emergency

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