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A view of Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto, as the number of the coronavirus disease cases continue to grow, April 8, 2020.

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

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


7:00 p.m. EDT

B.C. ramps up mental health support for front-line health care workers, families

Two hundred psychologists in British Columbia are volunteering to provide free virtual counselling to front-line health workers as part of the province’s efforts to ramp up mental health services for anyone who needs them.

Premier John Horgan joined Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy on Thursday to announce virtual supports that he said are necessary for people struggling during the pandemic.

“We need to hang together, we need to recognize that although we may feel stress, that we may feel bouts of depression at the challenges that we face as individuals, as a family and as a community, together we can get through this,” Horgan said.

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– The Canadian Press

Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7pm tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press


6:45 p.m. EDT

Saskatchewan premier doesn’t see need for Emergencies Act in COVID-19 fight

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he doesn’t see a need for Ottawa to use the sweeping Emergencies Act to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moe says he’s had discussions with the federal government on the issue and recently received a letter about it.

The Emergencies Act would give Ottawa power to override the provinces and restrict the flow of people and goods.

Moe says he doesn’t see how the never-before-used legislation would do anything the provinces aren’t already doing to respond to the spread of the virus.

He says he’s on weekly calls with premiers about how they can work together and believes provincial laws allow leaders the flexibility to address to the needs of their jurisdictions.

Moe says he hopes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes Saskatchewan’s stance seriously.

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– The Canadian Press


3:00 p.m. EDT

Manitoba to issue fines for public gatherings

The Manitoba government is instituting fines for people who don’t follow public safety orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Brian Pallister says people who break rules such as the 10-person limit on gatherings will face fines of $486, and businesses that don’t ensure proper distance between customers will be fined $2,542.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman says the city will have its own fines of up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail for city-owned property such as municipal parks.

– The Canadian Press


1:55 p.m. EDT

N.B. estimates between 550 and 1,750 deaths depending on compliance

Models projecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Brunswick estimate there could be between 550 and 1,750 deaths in the province over the full course of the pandemic, depending on compliance with public health measures.

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When compared to northern Italy, the model says the province’s fatality number could have been 5,600 if no public health measures had been taken.

There have been no deaths yet from COVID-19 in the province, but the model projects there could be 15 by the end of April.

Health Minister Hugh Flemming says he hopes the number is lower, but the biggest factor will be the public’s compliance with self-isolation and physical distancing directions.

– The Canadian Press


11:55 a.m. EDT

Jump in number of COVID cases in prison

A total of 42 inmates of federal prisons have tested positive for coronavirus — a jump of about 30 per cent over the past day.

Correctional Services Canada says that’s out of 208 prisoners tested.

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Quebec, with 19 inmate infections, has been hardest hit. British Columbia has reported 15.

Dozens of guards have also been infected.

– The Canadian Press


11:30 a.m EDT

Ontario death toll up to 200

Ontario is reporting 26 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing to 200 the total number of people killed by the virus.

There have been 483 new confirmed cases since Wednesday, with a provincial total of 5,759 – an increase of 9.2 per cent.

More than 2,300 cases have been resolved, which is 40 per cent of Ontario’s total COVID-19 confirmed cases.

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There are now 632 people in hospital confirmed to have COVID-19, with 264 of them in intensive care and 214 of those people on ventilators.

Nearly 4,100 tests were completed in the 24 hours up to 4 p.m. Wednesday, not long after Premier Doug Ford railed against the relatively low number of tests being performed in Ontario.

There is lab capability to do 13,000 tests per day, but the testing backlog grew for a third day in a row, by about 100 to just over 1,200.

– The Canadian Press


9:50 a.m. EDT

Six Nations reports first COVID-19 death on southwestern Ontario reserve

A First Nation in southwestern Ontario says one of its members has died of COVID-19.

Six Nations of the Grand River’s elected chief, Mark Hill, says the community is grieving the death.

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The First Nation says there are eight coronavirus cases on the reserve.

It had its first confirmed case two weeks ago.

Six Nations declared an emergency on March 13 and has set up checkpoints to restrict access to the territory.

Hill says the community must increase its efforts to slow the spread of the disease and to stay home.

- The Canadian Press


9:30 a.m. EDT

Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says

With strong control measures, the federal public health agency projects that 11,000 to 22,000 Canadians could die of COVID-19 in the coming months.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says short-term estimates are more reliable, and it anticipates 500 to 700 deaths by the end of next week.

The agency released modelling data this morning with different possible scenarios, warning that what happens depends very much on how Canadians behave to keep the respiratory illness from spreading.

With poor containment measures, the death toll could be much, much higher, the agency says.

It says the COVID-19 battle in Canada is still in its early stages but Canada’s numbers of confirmed cases have been increasing more slowly than in other countries.

The agency the fight against the novel coronavirus will likely take many months and require cycles of tighter and weaker controls.

- The Canadian Press


A sign on a shop window indicates a store closure in Ottawa, March 23, 2020.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

8:30 a.m. EDT

Canadian economy loses record 1 million jobs in March

Canada lost a staggering 1 million positions in March and the unemployment rate climbed to 7.8 per cent, reflecting the first wave of layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The March job losses easily surpassed a record one-month decline set in January of 2009 -- when employment dropped by roughly 125,000 -- according to Labour Force Survey data from Statistics Canada that dates back to 1976. March also saw the largest one-month increase of the country’s jobless rate, which had been 5.6 per cent in February.

Record-setting job losses were widely anticipated in Thursday’s report. Statscan surveyed households on labour conditions between March 15 to 21, which overlapped with many companies shutting their doors and laying off staff as COVID-19 started to upend the economy.

- Matt Lundy


7:50 a.m. EDT

WestJet to tap emergency wage subsidy to rehire thousands

WestJet says it plans to bring back nearly 6,400 employees on to its payroll with the help of Ottawa’s emergency wage subsidy program.

WestJet chief executive Ed Sims made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter.

He says employees will be back on the company payroll once the federal government has approved the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

- The Canadian Press

4 a.m. EDT

Lawyers, advocate call for inmate release before COVID-19 spreads

Canada’s largest group of criminal lawyers says judges need to start considering COVID-19 when they’re sentencing offenders.

John Hale, a vice-president with the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, says his group has sent an affidavit to its 16-hundred members with a medical opinion that says more inmates should be freed to prevent the spread of the virus.

He says judges will always have to decide if the person is a danger, but COVID-19 has turned sentencing on its head because a person may be more of health risk if they’re kept in a highly populated jail where the disease can spread.

The affidavit from Dr. Aaron Orkin of the COVID-19 assessment centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto says the virus can spread just as quickly in prisons as it does on cruise ships and at care homes.

Catherine Latimer, the executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, says it’s time to start moving as many inmates as possible out of prisons and jails to prevent the spread of the virus.

The governments of Ontario, B-C, the Northwest Territories, and Newfoundland and Labrador have already diverted hundreds of offenders from jails or granted them temporary absences.

- The Canadian Press


People are seen not practicing social distancing along the seawall in English Bay in Vancouver, B.C., March 24, 2020.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

2:30 a.m. EDT

Ontario researchers say mathematical models could help with physical distancing measures

A new study by Ontario researchers suggests that dialling physical distancing measures up and down could be a new tool in the long-term fight against COVID-19.

Scientists from the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph say such measures could help save the economy while avoiding overwhelming the health-care system.

The mathematical models the team employed show physical distancing can be an effective tool to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The study says the number of intensive care beds used by COVID-19 patients should determine when to turn physical distancing measures on or off.

That could then allow businesses to resume for short periods and allow some psychological respite from the isolation measures.

Study author Amy Greer says it’s another method to buy time until a vaccine reaches the market, which may be more than a year away.

- The Canadian Press


Archives

April 8: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador release coronavirus projections

April 7: Care home workers are the frontlines of Canada’s COVID-19 outbreaks; Quebec projects 1,236 deaths by end of month

April 6: Boris Johnson in intensive care; 3M to resume exports of N95 masks to Canada

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