The latest COVID-19 updates from across the country:
British Columbia‘s top health official said on May 5 that the province has “put the brakes” on the coronavirus outbreak, but Dr. Bonnie Henry cautioned that B.C. is “not through this yet.” Officials in British Columbia are expected to lay out what Premier John Horgan called the “plan to restart B.C.”.
In Alberta, a union representing employees at a meat-packing plant says 85% of workers are afraid to return to work in the wake of an outbreak at the facility. A total of 1,510 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta are now linked to the outbreak at the Cargill plant, located near High River, according to a spokesperson for Alberta Health. Nearly half of the company’s 2,000 staff, some 917 workers, have tested positive. Cargill announced plans to reopen on May 4 after closing the plant on April 20 because a worker died of COVID-19. Alberta Health Services is spending $4.5 million on technology and equipment in an effort to more than double the province’s testing capacity. Health Minister Tyler Shandro said testing is “essential to our province’s relaunch strategy.”
In Saskatchewan, health officials are investigating after a worker at a Saskatoon-area milk plant tested positive for COVID-19. May 4 was the first day in the province’s Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, a five-phase project to bring the provincial economy back online. Phase 1 of the plan allowed medical services, including dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy and chiropractic offices to reopen. Low-risk outdoor activities, like boating and fishing, are also allowed under Phase 1. Phase 2 of the reopening plan is scheduled to start May 19, with businesses like clothing stores, hair salons and pawnshops able to open. Premier Scott Moe has said that any dates set out can change at any time.
On May 5, Manitoba reported one new COVID-19 case, bringing the total to 282 — 271 confirmed, 11 probable. The province is also reporting the death of a man in his 70s, bringing the total number of deaths to seven. On May 4, the Manitoba government allowed restaurants to open patios if they follow specific guidelines for physical distancing.
Ontario, which reported 412 new coronavirus cases on May 6, is extending a plan to offer “off-peak” electricity rates to families, small businesses and farms because of COVID-19. “Although we are making progress in our fight against this COVID-19 outbreak, we are not out of the woods yet,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.
On May 5, Quebec’s ministry of transport said that wearing masks while riding on public transit is “highly recommended” but shouldn’t be considered a replacement for physical distancing, hand hygiene and good respiratory etiquette. Quebec has also been forced to dial back plans for reopening its economy, just six days after the premier announced them. The high number of COVID-19 cases in Montreal hospitals caused Premier François Legault to postpone store openings by a week in the province’s largest city. The new date for retail outlets to open is May 18.
New Brunswick’s chief medical officer told CBC News Network on May 5 that people in the province have done good work slowing the spread of the virus, but cautioned that “nobody should be complacent’ at this point. “We are going to be living with COVID-19 for 18 to 24 months until there’s a vaccine,” Dr. Jennifer Russell said. “We’re pretty much past mile one of a 26-mile marathon.”
Nova Scotia reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on May 5, bringing the total to 998 confirmed cases. No new deaths were reported, leaving the province’s total at 41.
Prince Edward Island had no new COVID-19 cases to report again on May 5. The update comes as Premier Dennis King said that businesses planning to reopen must have an operational plan that keeps staff and customer safety top of mind. Phase 1 of the province’s plan to ease restrictions began on May 1. P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said the provincial government will continue to emphasize physical distancing, good hygiene and staying home as much as possible.
On May 5 health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador said there were no new coronavirus cases in the province for the fifth day in a row. The development comes a day after top health official Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said the province is closely watching case numbers after recently allowing families to create “bubbles” of two households.
In Canada’s North, all of Yukon’s 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered. In Yukon, health officials say there aren’t any new cases, but they stressed that public health restrictions are still in place.