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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada

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

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6:36 p.m.

B.C. has conducted a record number of daily COVID-19 tests while diagnosing another 82 cases in the province.

Provincial medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says conducting the 10,899 tests is an incredible feat for health workers in B.C.

She says less than one per cent of those tested are positive and that shows there is a true levelling off of cases in the province.

One more person has died for a total of 235 deaths, while 69 people are in hospital and 7,695 people are considered recovered from the virus.

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6:16 p.m.

Alberta's top doctor says the province won't be cancelling Halloween over COVID fears.

But Deena Hinshaw says that means parents and kids have to make sure the fright-fest is scary for the right reasons.

The province has released a series of guidelines on its website on how both trick-or-treaters and candy handers can enjoy the night safely.

Hinshaw says that because trick-or-treating takes place outside, Halloween can actually be safer than other holidays.

She says parents should consider costumes that allow kids to wear a mask.

If the weather's good, Hinshaw adds people may want to hand out candy outside rather than at their front door.

Hinshaw says she's been getting many questions about whether the beloved holiday will go ahead.

"I have no plans to suggest that Alberta cancel Halloween this year," she said. "My own children would never forgive me."

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3:23 p.m.

Officials at Foothills Hospital in Calgary reported one new death in the latest COVID outbreak at the facility.

A total of 35 patients have tested positive at the hospital, as have 29 health-care workers. Three visitors linked to the outbreak have tested positive.

In all, five have died.

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2:32 p.m.

Quebec restaurants and bars forced to close today as part of a partial lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19 will be eligible for forgivable loans to cover certain fixed costs.

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon says the loans can cover expenses including municipal taxes, mortgage interest, electricity and rent that are not covered by an existing federal program.

Up to 80 per cent of the amount — to a maximum of $15,000 — will not have to be repaid if conditions are met.

The new, 28-day restrictions also cover indoor and outdoor private gatherings, though Premier Francois Legault and public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda told reporters that Quebecers — and police — will have to use their judgment when it comes to deciding what constitutes an outdoor gathering.

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2:18 p.m.

Manitoba health officials have announced 36 new COVID-19 cases, 28 of which are in Winnipeg.

The province has also announced the federal government's COVID Alert app is now up and running in Manitoba, joining other provinces such as Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The smartphone uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other.

If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to let other users know about potential exposure risk without sharing any personal information.

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12:25 p.m.

The University of Alberta says a student residence hit by a COVID-19 outbreak last month is now in the clear.

Five members of the St. Joseph's College Men's Residence who tested positive for the novel coronavirus last month have now recovered.

The remainder of the 22 people who live in the building have completed their required self-isolation periods.

All varsity athletics that were put on hold because of the outbreak have now resumed with enhanced safety measures.

St. Joseph's will remain on Alberta's list of outbreak sites until four weeks have passed without a new case.

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12:01 p.m.

In Alberta, a technical issue prevented 5,000 people who tested negative for the novel coronavirus from getting their results by phone autodialer or text. Those affected make up less than three per cent of the 224,000 tests completed between Sept. 3 and 29.

Anyone with a positive result in that time frame was informed by direct phone call.

Alberta Health Services said Thursday the glitch has been corrected and it's in the process of delivering delayed results.

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Noon

Ottawa is in negotiations with all remaining provinces that have not yet adopted the national COVID Alert app.

Manitoba is live today, and Quebec is to follow in the next few days.

Marika Nadeau, with the COVID Alert task force, says British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island are in the final stages of discussions as well.

Nadeau says as of today, 610 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 used the app to alert close contacts.

Most of those were in Ontario, but a few were in Saskatchewan.

That is less than five per cent of positive cases in Ontario since the app went live at the end of July, but Nadeau says every time the app is used is helpful to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

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11:15 a.m.

As Quebec's largest cities begin the first day of new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, the provincial government is reporting 16 additional deaths associated with the virus.

That brings the total number of deaths in the province to 5,850.

There were 933 new cases reported in Quebec, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 75,221.

There are now 275 people in hospital, an increase of 13 from the day before. Of those, 46 people are in intensive care, up three from the day before.

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11:10 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canada Infrastructure Bank intends to invest $10 billion in projects expected to create 60,000 jobs while contributing to the fight against climate change.

That includes $1.5 billion for agricultural infrastructure in Western Canada and $2 billion for broadband to expand access to high-speed internet service across the country.

It also includes $2.5 billion for clean power, $1.5 billion for zero-emission buses and $2 billion for energy-efficient building retrofits.

Trudeau made the announcement at a news conference today alongside the new chair of the bank's board, Michael Sabia, and Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna.

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10:56 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 538 new cases of COVID-19 today and three new deaths from the illness.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the bulk of the new cases are in Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa and York Region, and most are among people under the age of 40.

In total, 162 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 36 in intensive care.

The province conducted nearly 40,000 tests since the last daily report, but is dealing with a backlog of more than 82,000.

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9:10 a.m.

A British Columbia man appears in a North Vancouver court today charged with making a hoax call that frightened staff and disrupted service at a long-term care home just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Court documents show 26-year-old Taymour Aghtai (AGG'-tie) is charged with a single count of conveying a false message with intent to alarm.

Someone claiming to be a health officer called North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Care Centre in March and told staff to stay home, severely affecting service at the facility where a COVID-19 case had been confirmed.

A resident in his 80s died of the novel coronavirus the next day — marking B.C.'s first pandemic death — and the outbreak at the care home eventually claimed 20 lives.

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The Canadian Press





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