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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada on May 7

This 2020 electron microscope made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image shows the spherical coronavirus particles from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-C.S. Goldsmith, A. Tamin/ CDC via AP

The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):

3:40 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 19 new cases of COVID-19 in the province.

The government says 12 of those are in the La Loche area in the north, where health officials are monitoring an outbreak.

The total number of cases in Saskatchewan is now at 531.

So far, 329 people have recovered from the illness.


2:10 p.m.

Manitoba health officials are reporting no new COVID-19 cases and say one earlier probable case has turned out to not be COVID-19.

The total to date is 283 cases.

And with more people recovering, the number of active cases has dropped to 33.


1:45 p.m.

The waiting list for surgeries in British Columbia has grown to 93,000 with one-third of those added during the COVID-19 shutdown.

The B.C. government says it will take 17 to 24 months to clear a backlog of 30,000 patients, and that's only if there's not a resurgence of the pandemic.

It says an additional 24,000 surgical cases weren't even added to the waiting list since the shutdown and it will be impossible to catch up without significant changes in the health-care system.

The changes being implemented include new screening processes for COVID-19, hiring 400 more operating room nurses, pushing operating rooms to full capacity and turning to private clinics.


1:10 p.m.

The Manitoba government is boosting infrastructure spending and cutting some environmental funding to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Brian Pallister says the government will spend an extra $500 million over the next two years on roads, bridges, and water and sewer projects.

Pallister says the cash will stimulate an economy that has been hurt by the pandemic and comes on top of $3 billion previously planned.

Meanwhile, The Green Action Centre, a Winnipeg-based non-profit, says it is out $200,000 and will have a hard time maintaining its waste reduction program after cuts were announced to some environmental groups.


12:55 p.m.

The country's deputy chief public health officer says there's no "right" number of COVID-19 tests to do each day.

Dr. Howard Njoo says testing numbers are moving targets, depending on local circumstances.

Njoo tells a press briefing in Ottawa that as governments begin lifting anti-pandemic restrictions, the need for testing will generally rise, but it's impossible to set an exact target.

He says needs will be different if someone tests positive in a dense urban centre and has encountered many other people, versus someone who lives alone in an isolated place.


12:55 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador has confirmed two more cases of COVID-19, one which is linked to an outbreak at an Alberta worksite.

The province has confirmed 261 cases of the illness and 244 people have recovered.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Janice Fitzgerald says ebbs and flows in the number of cases is to be expected, adding that the increase speaks to the importance of following preventive measures like physical distancing and hand hygiene.

Fitzgerald addressed an outbreak in the Alberta oilsands, saying workers at the Horizon and Kearl Lake sites who returned to the province since April 12 should isolate for 14 days and contact public health to be tested.


12:50 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 today.

The number of confirmed cases in the province remains at 120.

There are two active cases and 118 people have recovered. None of the active cases are in hospital.

As of Thursday, 16,625 tests have been conducted.


12:40 p.m.

Dr. Theresa Tam says it's a bad idea to go to a cottage or a second home if you risk straining local health resources.

Rules and advice on how to apply that will vary from province to province and situation to situation, though.

In Ontario, for instance, Premier Doug Ford has called on people who own cottages not to leave city homes for them over the upcoming Victoria Day weekend, after previously saying he thought it might be OK.

Tam says part of the concern is about spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, and part is about simply having too many people heading to places that don't have the local hospital capacity to treat them if they got sick.


12:35 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting three more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the province's total to 44.

Health officials say the deaths occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, where the majority of the deaths in the outbreak have occurred.

Nine new cases of the virus have been identified for a total of 1,007 confirmed cases.

There are three licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors' facilities in Nova Scotia with active cases of COVID-19.


12:25 p.m.

Governor General Julie Payette says the lessons being learned from the COVID-19 pandemic will be useful for potential upcoming crises.

Payette points out that natural disasters, like volcanic eruptions or asteroids, could cause major disruptions to life in Canada.

She suggests science could help foresee those catastrophes and the country would have time to plan and react.

Payette, a former astronaut, says one of the things she learned from her past job is to spend a lot of time planning when things are quiet so everyone is ready to work together when "all hell breaks loose."


12:20 p.m.

Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada has conducted its millionth test for COVID-19, and about six per cent of the people tested have been confirmed as positive cases.

Nearly half of those who tested positive are considered recovered at this point, but more than 4,000 people have died of the illness.

The country's chief public health officer says mental health is a growing concern amid the pandemic, but one thing that helps many people is feeling as though they're helping and making a difference.

For children, she says being creative and cheering people up with art can achieve that.


11:30 a.m. 

Justin Trudeau says cushioning the economic impact of the pandemic is the government's top priority and he's not worrying too much for now about how to deal with the costs.

He says there will be plenty of time to talk about the longer-term economic recovery later.

Trudeau says the pandemic has revealed problems that hadn't received enough attention, such as the plight of vulnerable workers, that will also need to be dealt with.

He says the government will think about green measures, the digital economy, poverty and other ways that Canada can "build back better."


11:20 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will spend $4 billion to top up the wages of essential workers.

He says the provinces and territories will decide how the money gets spent, but it's meant to help people who are risking their health by working during the COVID-19 pandemic at minimum wage.

Some of the details are still to be worked out with particular provinces, but Trudeau says they know best who deserves the money and how much.

The federal money is three-quarters of the cost, with lower-tier governments kicking in the rest.


10:45 a.m.

The Defence Minister won't say how many Canadian Armed Forces members are ill with COVID-19.

Harjit Sajjan says for operational reasons, the military won't release the number.

Upwards of 1,000 personnel are deployed in long-term care facilities, and hundreds elsewhere in Canada.

Sajjan says the Forces are taking all precautions to protect the health and safety of their members.


10:35 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 399 new cases of COVID-19 today and 48 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 19,121 cases — a 2.1 per cent increase over Wednesday's total — including 1,477 deaths and 13,569 resolved cases.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 and the amount of people in intensive care remained stable, and the number of people on ventilators dropped from 174 to 155.


9:50 a.m.

Greyhound Canada has announced a temporary shutdown for all of the company's bussing routes and services effective May 13.

The transportation company says the shutdown in Canada is a result of a 95 per cent drop ridership and lost revenue as a result of COVID-19.

The company says 400 employees will be affected by the closure.

The Canadian Press

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