Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada on Friday

The latest:

Montreal’s mayor is calling on people to do their part and follow public health guidelines ahead of a planned reopening of some retail shops on the hard-hit island, which has reported more than 2,400 coronavirus-related deaths.

“This is not the time to slack off with our efforts,” Mayor Valérie Plante said Thursday. “Face-coverings must be part of our habit.”

The city plans to help residents do that by giving out masks, with a focus on hard-hit neighbourhoods and transit stations.

New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell expressed similar sentiments on Friday as she talked about the province’s move to the next phase of reopening, which is unfolding in stages. More businesses are allowed to reopen and people can spend time with people outside their “two-household bubbles” — but restrictions on international and interprovincial borders will stay in place for now to reduce the risk of imported cases. 

The province, which reported a new coronavirus case on Thursday after two weeks without any new cases, is urging people to stay vigilant even as rules relax slightly and arrange to get tested immediately if they show symptoms. 

“Have a very low threshold to get tested,” said Russell, who noted that the province is further loosening restrictions with the understanding that the health system has the capacity to test, trace and isolate cases. 

 “Your adjustment to this new normal is crucial. Our collective success is the result of thousands upon thousands of individual actions that have helped keep our province safe during this global pandemic.” 

Russell said the province expects a second wave but doesn’t know when it will happen, which means people need to continue to be cautious. She said she would like to delay the second wave, “as long as possible and make sure that it is as small as possible and that the fewest number of people are affected as possible.” 

WATCH | Concern that Ontario, Quebec reopened too soon as COVID-19 cases continue:

Ontario and Quebec have most of Canada’s COVID-19 cases and as infections continue, so do the concerns the provinces are reopening too soon. 2:04

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Friday her ministry has been working with provinces to make sure they have the materials needed to meet their testing goals, including swabs, reagents and people to do the work.

“We see ourselves as building capacity for all the provinces and territories to test to their fullest need,” she told the House of Commons committee on government operations. Each province has its own testing strategy, and Ottawa must adapt its support to meet their individual needs, she said.

As of 11:45 a.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 81,767 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 41,988 of those considered resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of deaths attributed to coronavirus based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s journalism stood at 6,250.

Federal public health officials have also been urging caution and encouraging people to stick with frequent handwashing, cough etiquette, physical distancing and staying home when sick. On Wednesday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam added another recommendation, saying people should wear non-medical face masks in public when they aren’t sure they will be able to physically distance.

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories

British Columbia, which has had some success at flattening the curve of COVID-19 and is gradually reopening, reported 12 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths on Thursday. Health Minister Adrian Dix urged people to stick with public health measures amid reopening. “These small actions … are what we owe to one another to help prevent the spread of the virus.” Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Alberta reported 33 new coronavirus cases on Thursday and four more deaths. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer for Alberta, said it’s important that people don’t get “lulled into a false sense of security, to feel like COVID is over or the pandemic is over.” Alberta has begun lifting restrictions put in place to deal with the pandemic across most of the province, except for Calgary and Brooks, which have seen the majority of cases. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.

Saskatchewan said it will move to the next phase in its reopening on June 8. Bars and restaurants are among the businesses that will be allowed to reopen in Phase 3, though they will have to operate at reduced capacity and with physical distancing measures in place. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

WATCH | Dr. Tasleem Nimjee answers your questions about COVID-19 masks:

Manitoba is considering allowing some students back in classrooms as early as June as part of its next phase of reopening. The draft plan says that some students may be welcomed back for things like assessments, counselling and one-on-one teaching. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

Ontario reported 441 new cases on Friday and announced that the number of tests performed Thursday again fell short of the province’s goal of 16,000 a day.  Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

WATCH | Ontario families struggle to return loved ones to long-term care:

Some people who pulled their loved ones out of Ontario long-term care homes during deadly COVID-19 outbreaks are now discovering the process of getting them back in is not as easy as they believed. 1:56

Quebec will allow day camps to operate this summer. Premier François Legault told reporters in Montreal during his daily briefing that day camps will be open as of June 22, with physical distancing and other COVID-19 health measures in effect. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, which has also been falling short of its testing goal.

New Brunswick reported no new coronavirus cases on Friday, a day after officials reported a case in a person under the age of 19 in the Campbellton region. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

A Nova Scotia man who contracted COVID-19 in mid-March is donating plasma to a clinical trial. “We got such great care from the health-care folks that we wanted to give something back,” said Donnie Clarke. Read more about what’s happening in N.S., which reported two new cases and two new recoveries on Friday.

Prince Edward Island is moving to its next phase of reopening Friday, and is now allowing retail stores to open their doors to the public with physical distancing measures. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.

WATCH | Coronavirus testing isn’t ramping up with reopening:

Even though Canada is slowly reopening, testing isn’t ramping up to match the rising risk of infections. That worries experts, and has the federal government offering assistance. 2:04

As of Thursday, Newfoundland and Labrador had gone two weeks without any new cases of the novel coronavirus. Read more about what’s happening in N.L., where the government is announcing new measures to help businesses impacted by the pandemic.

There were no new cases of coronavirus reported in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut on Thursday. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

WATCH | Pandemic politics during Trump’s Michigan visit:

U.S. President Donald Trump visited the swing state of Michigan to talk about flood relief, and his self-proclaimed success in dealing with the pandemic, but his ongoing feud with state politicians over mail-in ballots took centre-stage. 1:59

WATCH | Italians use creativity to counter damage from COVID-19:

As Italy re-opens, businesses in the design and fashion capital of Milan see creativity as a way to counter the damage done by COVID-19. 2:02

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