COVID-19: Here are the latest developments

Digital Writers
COVID-19: Here are the latest developments

COVID-19 news is changing by the hour.

Here's what happened today and some noteworthy stories from the month of May so far.

For more updates and resources, click here.

MAY 24, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

COVIDGRAPH

Ontario government urges residents to get tested

Ontario Premier Doug Ford urged the public Sunday to "please go get a test" after the province came up short of its testing target for the seventh day in a row, CBC News reported. Ford applauded the province's efforts to ramp up testing capacity at hospitals. He said Ontario has opened 129 COVID-19 assessment centres.

Province reports highest new case count since May 8

CBC News reported that Ontario confirmed 460 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the highest new COVID-19 case count since May 8. The province now has a total of 25,500 cases, which includes 19,477 resolved cases and 2,073 deaths.

MAY 23, 2020

Quebec's museums, libraries and drive-ins can reopen May 29

Starting May 29, museums, libraries and drive-in cinemas in Quebec will be allowed to reopen, as reported by CBC News. However, it won't be business as usual when museums open their doors. They will not be permitted to host vernissages or other events, and guided tours will also be prohibited.

Potential COVID-19 vaccine shows promising early results

An early trial of a prospective COVID-19 vaccine that will soon be tested on Canadians has deemed it to be safe and also cause an immune response, according to CBC News. The findings were released before researchers at Dalhousie University plan to test the CanSino product in Halifax in the forthcoming weeks.

MAY 22, 2020

Government announces more funding for Indigenous groups

The federal government has announced $75 million will be given to organizations assisting Indigenous people who are living in urban centres and off-reserve, the CBC reports.

The community groups receiving the funds support Indigenous groups in a variety of ways, from collecting groceries to providing mental health services.

The $75 million is in addition to $15 million announced in March to support these groups.

Manitoba increases gathering limits

Manitoba will increase the number of people allowed to gather in one place.

Starting Friday, up to 25 people can gather in a room and 50 can gather outside, provided physical distancing is practiced, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said.

"We're still dealing with this virus and we're still going to be dealing with this virus for some time, so we still need to take those precautions," Dr. Roussin said, adding people should still practice frequent hand-washing and stay home if they are feeling ill.

MAY 20, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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Officials recommend Canadians wear masks

Dr. Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, says Canadians should be wearing masks as an "added layer of protection" in situations where physical distancing is not possible.

"For the spring and summer months, strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum," she told reporters Wednesday.

"In addition, where COVID-19 activity is occurring, use of non-medical masks or face coverings is recommended as an added layer of protection when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. And staying home when sick is a must, always and everywhere."

Nova Scotia may ease restrictions in June

COVID-19 is continuing to spread via community transmission in Nova Scotia, albeit in low numbers.

Premier Stephen McNeil says more public health restrictions could be lifted by early June, the CBC reports.

As of Tuesday, the province had a total of 1,044 cases, with 32 considered active. Most of the cases are associated with long-term care facilities.

Nova Scotia currently has nine COVID-19 patients in the hospital, with five in intensive care.

MAY 19, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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Canada-U.S. border closure extended

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed until at least June 21.

The extended restrictions, which have been in place since March 18, come as several Canadian provinces roll-out a staged approach to re-opening the economy.

Ontario academic year cancelled

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced schools will remain closed for the rest of the year, citing student safety as the first concern.

Ford says learning will continue and children will receive report cards. There's no word on whether or not overnight summer camps will open later in the summer. As of right now, there are no plans to open them.

Retail stores with street-facing entrances are now allowed to open.

B.C. businesses open their doors

B.C. restaurant owners are now allowed to resume business, but at a reduced capacity and enhanced public health guidelines in place.

Part of those guidelines includes large-board or disposable menus, a limit on the number of people at a table and increased space between customers.

MAY 18, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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As Ontario gets set to reopen, self-isolation continues for millions of citizens

Millions of Ontarians over the age of 70, as well as people with existing health conditions, are preparing for a much longer period of self-isolation, even as Ontario begins its first phase of reopening this week, reported by CBC News.

MAY 17, 2020

Red Cross to receive $100M in federal funding amid COIVD-19 pandemic

A $100 million in federal funding will be distributed to the Canadian Red Cross during the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced, according to Global News. Trudeau stated the money would go to Red Cross’ response efforts to both COVID-19 and natural disasters like floods or wildfires.

Ontario health officials confirm another 340 cases of COVID-19, 23 more deaths

Ontario reported 340 new cases and 23 deaths, Sunday, bringing its total to 22,653, with 17,360 recoveries, according to CBC News. The province's health ministry stated a total of 1,881 people have died and 934 people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 171 in intensive care.

MAY 16, 2020

Health Canada approves first clinical trial for potential COVID-19 vaccine

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday that the Canadian Center for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University has been given the go-ahead by the federal health agency to begin clinical trials of vaccine candidate, as reported by CTV News. Trudeau stated the National Research Council of Canada will work with the manufacturers of the potential vaccine so that it could be manufactured in the country should the trials be successful.

Ontario reports 391 new cases of COVID-19 as golf courses, marinas, boat clubs reopen

Ontario added 391 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, and 379 recoveries for a provincial total of 22,313 cases and 17,020 recoveries, according to CBC News. The latest figures come as golf courses, marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches have opened in Ontario on Saturday, with the province beginning to ease restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Private parks and campgrounds can open to allow workers to get ready for the summer season. Trailers and recreational vehicles, where owners have a full-season contract, are able to access the parks and campgrounds.

Canadians advised to stay home during the long weekend

Despite some restrictions being eased off, most provinces and territories are advising people not to travel to cottages or hold large gatherings on this holiday weekend during the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC News reported.

MAY 15, 2020

"Glitch" caused missed cases in May 14 COVID-19 update

Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott states that a "glitch" resulted in 87 cases being omitted from Ontario's COVID-19 update on May 14. Elliot tweeted that "the real day-over-day numbers are 345 new cases on May 14 and 341 today."

The initial report of 258 cases on Thursday came hours before Premier Doug Ford's announcement that some restrictions will be lifted before the province enters "phase 1" of the reopening process on Tuesday.

Canadian home sales fall to their lowest level for April since 1984

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reports that home sales in Canada's residential real estate market fell by more than 56 per cent from the previous month's level due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, as reported by CBC News.

Uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, lockdown orders and physical distancing measures have put buying and selling activities on a pause since March.

The CREA says that the number of houses sold has plummeted, but the average prices have been more stable. The average price of a home sold by a realtor in April 2020 was $488,000, which is only a 1.3 per cent decrease from April 2019.

CBC states that the April's average price was 10 per cent lower than March's, which is an "unprecedented development given the seasonal nature of Canadian real estate" since the housing market typically picks up during the spring and summer.

MAY 14, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

May 14 - Provincial

Canada's curve

May 14 - Curve

Ontario reports lowest number of new cases in six weeks, announces loosening of restrictions

Ontario's Ministry of Health reported new 258 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the lowest number since 211 cases were reported on March 29, CP24 reports.

New cases have been trending downward in the province since a peak of 640 new patients reported April 25.

Premier Doug Ford announced, "phase 1" of a three-step re-opening protocol can begin Tuesday, with each phase lasting between 2 and 4 weeks.

Businesses permitted to open include:

  • Retail spaces with separate entrances that can maintain social - distancing.
  • Some film and music production studios.
  • Some motor vehicle dealerships.
  • Biotech, agriculture, and industrial research labs.

National parks set to re-open June 1

Some 38 parks and 171 historic sites are expected to open in Canada starting June 1, but camping will be prohibited until at least June 21, the Canadian Press reports.

All national parks and sites have been closed due to the pandemic for more than a month.

Federal government announces aid for fish harvesters

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced some $470 million in support for fish harvesters, including a $267-million fund that would cover 75 per cent of losses for harvesters who expect an income drop of 25 per cent, up to a maximum of $10,000 each.

In April, the federal government announced $62.5 million for fish processors.

MAY 13, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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Canada-U.S. border expected to remain closed until June 21

The agreement to close the Canada-U.S. border is set to expire May 21, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says talks are underway to extend the restrictions until June 21.

Trudeau told reporters discussions are "going well" and it's "not the time" to talk about loosening border restrictions.

Quebec 'strongly recommends' wearing masks in public

Premier François Legault says he wants to see "as many Quebecers as possible" wearing masks in public.

"A great way to greatly reduce the contagion is to wear a mask. We strongly recommend that you do so," he told reporters.

MAY 12, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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Canadian National Exhibition cancelled due to COVID-19

The Canadian National Exhibition has officially been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Canadian Press reports.

The summer event is the latest large-scale summer celebration to be called off, following Toronto's Pride Parade and Caribbean Carnival, the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, live Canada Day events in Ottawa, and several music festivals nation-wide.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Tuesday at a press conference.

The Canadian National Exhibition Association said Tuesday the cancellation was "the right decision during this critical time to protect the health of all Canadians."

It is the second time in the CNE's 142-year history that the celebration has been cancelled. The first time was during WWII, when the site was used as a training and recruitment centre.

Funds to assist seniors announced

Seniors will receive a one-time payment up to $500 to help offset cost of living increases due to the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced.

Seniors Minister Deb Schulte said today seniors qualifying for Old Age Security are eligible for a one-time, tax-free payment of $300, and those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will get an extra $200. Individuals eligible for both will receive $500 total.

The support totals $2.5 billion and is expected to be delivered to 6.7 million Canadians, the CBC reports.

No new cases in New Brunswick, PEI

New Brunswick reported no new cases Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 120 -- with 118 of those cases considered resolved.

PEI's total caseload remains steady at 27 with no new cases reported. All cases are considered recovered.

MAY 11, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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Ontario expected to extend its state of emergency until June 2

Ontario reported 308 additional cases of COVID-19 Monday, the third consecutive day the growth rate in new cases remains at 2 per cent.

Provincial legislature will meet Tuesday and is expected to extend the province's state of emergency to June 2, the CBC reports.

Thousands of students return to school in Quebec

Schools have re-opened across Quebec, but students are returning to a different environment.

Everyone entering classrooms will have to disinfect their hands, and students will take their coats and boots to their desks to avoid crowds in hallways.

Lunches will be eaten in classrooms, and each class will take turns going outside for recess.

Speaking with the CBC, Sophie Turgeon, principal at École Saint-Joseph elementary school in Lévis, near Quebec City, said she believes the decision to reopen is the "right thing to do":

"I think it's good that students will be able to go back to somewhat normal lives. I was afraid of the inequalities that may have surfaced because of this crisis."

No new cases in New Brunswick

New Brunswick reported no new cases of COVID-19 Monday, keeping the province’s total steady at 120.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, says 118 have recovered.

The province also announced that regulated childcare centres may reopen, with restrictions in place. However, work-from-home policies are still being encouraged.

Businesses re-open in Newfoundland and Labrador

Beginning Monday, low-risk and non-essential businesses, such as law firms, garden centres, and golf courses are allowed to reopen provided they follow certain restrictions.

Select retail businesses are also being allowed to open.

Low-risk activities, like hunting, angling, and fishing, are also being permitted.

MAY 10, 2020

Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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Ontario reports lowest new COVID-19 case count since March 31

Ontario reported 294 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the lowest daily number of new cases since March 31, according to CBC News. In the past few weeks, the daily has mostly been more than 300.

Western Quebec elementary schools prepare to open, with few students

Elementary schools in western Quebec are set to reopen Monday, but attendance is optional, according to CBC News. Desks will be spaced apart to follow physical distancing measures and each student will have separate supplies, and classes will be limited to 15 students. Many schools have chosen to keep gyms, cafeterias and libraries closed.

MAY 9, 2020

Ontario health officials reported 346 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday

Ontario health officials reported 346 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday morning, the lowest number of new cases since April 6, according to CBC News.

COVID-19 outbreak linked to Canada Post main plant in Calgary

CBC News reported an outbreak of COVID-19 has been linked to Canada Post's main plant in Calgary, provincial officials said Friday. Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said six cases have now been tied to the facility. The main sorting facility for Canada Post in Calgary is located near the airport. However, Union says they have not received any evidence that there is a spread within the facility.

Federal government rejects 8 million N95 masks from single distributor

The federal government it has suspended the shipments of N95 respirators from a Montreal-based supplier after about eight million of the masks made in China failed to meet specifications, according to CBC News. The office of Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced that of the nearly 11 million masks received from the distributor, about one million met federal standards and another 1.6 million masks are still being tested.

MAY 8, 2020

Ontario sports training facilities to reopen

CP24 reported Friday that the Ontario government is permitting the reopening of professional sports training facilities, as long as their respective leagues have established health and safety protocols.

Ontario rejects regional phase-outs of COVID-19 restrictions

Despite contrasting differences in the impact of COVID-19 in different parts of Ontario, the Ford government declined a region-by-region approach to loosening emergency restrictions.

The infection rates in Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex, and Peel and York regions are all five to six times higher than the rates in northeastern and northwestern Ontario, according to the latest per capita data provided by the provincial government.

Canada lost nearly 2 million jobs in April amid COVID-19 crisis: Statistics Canada

Canada lost almost two million jobs in April, a record high, as COVID-19 made a significant impact on the economy. Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey data released Friday brings the total number of jobs lost during the crisis to more than three million. The agency also says the unemployment rate jumped to 13 per cent as the brunt of the pandemic hit, compared with 7.8 per cent in March.

MAY 7, 2020

Two new cases reported in Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, putting an end to a five-day streak of no new cases.

The total provincal caseload now sits at 261, with 244 recoveries. The current active caseload has now risen to 14, which is the first increase since April 6.

Greyhound Canada announces temporary shutdown

Greyhound Canada is pausing its remaining bus routes following a 95 per cent decline in ridership due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Services will end May midnight, impacting about 400 employees.

“Although the company has made every effort to reduce costs, and has made significant outreach efforts to the provincial and federal governments, it cannot continue operations absent financial support,” Greyhound Canada said in the statement.

B.C. to resume elective surgeries

British Columbia will roll out its plan to resume elective surgeries in a bid to pare down a backlog of thousands of procedures due to COVID-19.

The province cancelled thousands of elective and scheduled surgeries March 16 to free up space in B.C. hospitals in the event of a COVID-19 case surge.

Ontario Premier advises against heading to the cottage for the May longe weekend

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is advising against heading to the cottage this long weekend.

“I know Ontarians are eager to enjoy the great outdoors, but there will be plenty of long weekends to come,” he told reporters.

“Right now, we need to focus on doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians. We’re all in this together and together we will beat COVID-19.”

MAY 6, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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Ontario sees slight spike in cases

Ontario recorded a slight spike in new COVID-19 Wednesday, with 412 new patients.

The provincial total now sits at 18,722, with 1,429 COVID-19-related deaths.

The slight spike follows two consecutive days of less than 400 new cases.

Ontario businesses re-opening this week

Premier Doug Ford says Ontario will permit some businesses to reopen this week, including retail stores that can accommodate curbside pickup.

Garden centres will be allowed to open their doors May 8, followed by hardware stores and safety supply stores the next day.

Retail stores with street entrances and can offer curbside pickup can open May 11.

Fifth straight day of no new COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting no new cases of COVID-19, for the fifth day in a row, the CBC reports.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the total number of cases in the province was at 259, with 244 people already covered.

The total active caseload is 12.

"Each passing day with no new cases further reinforces that what we are doing is working," Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald told reporters.

"I know it's not easy and requires great personal sacrifice from us all, but if we remain dedicated and focused on our end goal I can assure you that we will most certainly reap the reward."

Taiwan donated 500,000 face masks to Canada

Taiwan has donated 500,000 surgical masks to front-line health-care workers in Canada, Global news reports.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer posted a picture on Twitter of himself accepting the masks at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada and thanked Taiwan for its “generous donation.”

MAY 5, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

![covidtest](//images.ctfassets.net/c55i45ef3o2a/2rc5kdeoOFEjv3MVyruffj/5eca10cbe675a Provincial breakdown

covidmap

Canada's curve

COVIDGRAPH

New aid for farmers announced

The Liberal government has unveiled a multimillion-dollar aid package intended to help farmers and food processors affected by the pandemic.

Of the $252 million pledged, Prime Minister Trudeau said that:

  • $125 million will go towards a national AgriRecovery fund to help cattle and hog producers who have to keep animals for longer than usual.
  • $77 million will be used to help processors purchase personal protective equipment and practice social distancing.
  • $50 million will be used to establish a Surplus Food Purchase Program, where the government will buy food products that would have otherwise gone to waste due to the pandemic.

Canada passes 60,000 cases

By 7:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 60,772 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, with 26,030 of those cases marked as either recovered or resolved.

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that even with social restrictions being loosened in several provinces, Canadians will have to remain diligent and continue to social distance, practice frequent handwashing, and self-isolate if they are feeling ill.

Montreal 'not flattening the curve'

Montreal public health director, Dr. Mylène Drouin said that despite her April 16 announcement that new cases were stabilizing, the situation is now getting worse.

"We are not lowering the epidemic curve," she said via the CBC.

"We can see a plateau and even an increase in cases."

Montreal has more than 16,000 cases and the majority of the city's 1,400+ deaths have been seniors living in long-term care facilities.

New Brunswick reports first COVID-19 case in more than two weeks

After more than two weeks without any new cases of COVID-19, New Brunswick has confirmed a new patient, the CBC reports.

Provincial chief medical officer Dr. Jennifer Russell said the individual lives in the Fredericton region and is between the ages of 30 and 39 and that the case is under investigation.

Fire marshall reminds Ontarians not to use microwaves to sterilize face masks

Ontario's Fire Marshal is reminding the public to follow the recommendations of medical and health professionals on how to use and clean personal protective equipment and warns against using a microwave to sterilize a mask can be a fire risk.

"Heating a face mask in a microwave, in an effort to decontaminate it, is a potential fire risk and should never be done," said Jon Pegg, Ontario Fire Marshal.

Microwave ovens are not designed to heat cloth materials, so there is a risk of the mask overheating and catching fire, he adds.

Many brands of masks also have metal nose wires or staples inside them, which can easily ignite.

MAY 4, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

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Provincial breakdown

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Canada's curve

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Five provinces begin lifting restrictions

Five provinces began lifting some COVID-19 restrictions Monday.

  • Alberta is letting non-essential medical activities, like dentistry and physiotherapy, resume.
  • In Saskatchewan, non-urgent medical offices can reopen and restrictions around fishing and boating are being loosened.
  • Manitoba is re-opening museums, libraries, and retail businesses, as well as restaurant patios at half capacity in addition to non-urgent medical facilities.
  • Ontario is allowing a limited number of seasonal businesses to open, like garden centres and golf courses.
  • Quebec is allowing most retail stores in the Montreal area to re-open.

MAY 3, 2020

The situation: Nationwide testing

COVID May2 Cases

Provincial breakdown

COVID May2 Cases

Canada's curve

COVID May2 Curve

Death toll at Ontario long-term care homes nears 1,000, hospitalizations on the rise

Ontario reported 44 new COVID-19 deaths of residents in long-term care homes on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths in homes across the province to 954 since the outbreak began, according to CBC News. The Ontario health ministry also announced 434 new cases of COVID-19, which is less than the daily increase reported on Saturday. The province now has 17,553 confirmed cases of the virus and the death toll is at 1,216.

Ottawa announces $240M for virtual health-care services during COVID-19 crisis

As reported by CBC News, the federal government will contribute $240 million towards moving mental health and primary care services online in an effort to address concerns over mental and physical well-being during the COVID-19 crisis, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Sunday.

Health Canada restricts use of COVID-19 rapid test to research only

CBC News reported that Canadian firm Spartan Bioscience Inc. is recalling thousands of its newly approved portable units that promised a rapid test for COVID-19, after word came out that Health Canada suspended the regulatory approval it granted last month. The agency confirmed Sunday there are now concerns over the devices, which were made to give test results within an hour.

More lockdown rules being lifted

Provinces across Canada are gearing up to start relaxing lockdown rules this coming week. Businesses such as gardening centres and auto dealerships will be allowed to open in Ontario Monday, while residents in Newfoundland and Labrador will be able to interact with one household other than their own, according to CBC News.

Manitoba will allow many non-essential businesses, restaurant patios, museums, campgrounds and other facilities to reopen. Alberta has informed dentists, physiotherapists and other medical professionals they can start operating again on Monday.

MAY 2, 2020

Officials taking break from COVID-19 daily updates

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his ministers and top public health officials are taking a break Saturday from the daily updates they've been providing since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many regular activities in Canada in mid-March, reported by CBC News. Only regular online updates on the number of Canadians infected will be provided by chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

Canadians have lost more than $1.2 million to COVID-19 scams

In recent weeks, Canadians have lost more than $1.2 million in to scammers taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC News reported. Jeff Thomson of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre stated it has received 739 reports since March 6 of attempts to scam Canadians related to the pandemic. He noted 178 of those attempts succeeded.

MAY 1, 2020

Ontario will allow some businesses to reopen with 'strict safety guidelines'

The Ontario government has announced the first, cautious steps of its plan to reopen the Ontario economy, beginning with the following businesses:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only.
  • Lawn care and landscaping.
  • Additional essential construction projects that include: shipping and logistics; broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure; any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services; municipal projects; colleges and universities; child care centres; schools; and site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development.
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes.
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only.
  • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public.
  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

However, the province says physical distancing and other measures must remain in effect.

The government unveiled a general multi-stage COVID-19 roadmap earlier this week, and said each stage would be followed by a two-to-four-week period of assessment before progressing to the next.

See April headlines here.