Manitoba's Canada-leading per-capita infection rate continued to rise after the province reported 461 new COVID-19 cases and an additional fatality on Sunday.
Of the new infections, 299 are in the Winnipeg health region.
With the new figures, the provincial government said in a news release that the test-positivity rate across Manitoba over the past five days is now at 14.5 per cent, up from 14.3.
The province's hospitals — which are under increasing strain and sending some ICU patients to neighbouring Ontario — saw 18 more people hospitalized due to the coronavirus, bringing the total to 316.
Manitoba's daily infection rate is at about 34 new cases each day for every 100,000 people, the highest among Canadian provinces and U.S. states. Alberta is a distant second, with 20.6.
Premier Brian Pallister on Saturday said the province was working on a plan to get thousands of surplus shots sent from the U.S. state of North Dakota to Manitoba, but it was "kiboshed" by the White House, which needs to approve such requests.
Meanwhile, a day after Canada officially crossed the milestone of partially immunizing 50 per cent of residents, efforts are shifting to vaccinating younger age groups.
Ontario on Sunday became the latest province to open vaccine appointments to kids 12 and over through the province's booking system. Those wanting to book can do so through the provincial online portal or call centre, as well as through pharmacies offering the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.
The province also registered 1,691 new COVID-19 cases, along with 15 deaths, on Sunday.
In Quebec — which confirmed its lowest daily increase of new cases in eight months on Sunday, at 477 cases — there were long lineups outside a walk-in vaccine centre in Montreal that opened its doors to the 12-to-17 age group over the weekend.
The province will formally open its booking system to youths 12 and up on Tuesday, but a spokesperson for the local health authority said officials at the clinic west of downtown decided not to turn away teens that showed up for walk-ins.
Several other provinces have already expanded vaccine eligibility to those 12 and over, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> key concerns in Canada: an incredible 2,548,563 Canadians received a dose <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19Vaccines?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19Vaccines</a> from May 9-15, 2021. Great progress <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canada?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Canada</a>! While immunity builds up across the population, protect our progress & stay <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVIDWise?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVIDWise</a>: <a href="https://t.co/eUgIbY1grb">https://t.co/eUgIbY1grb</a> <a href="https://t.co/b1uzdCKuA7">pic.twitter.com/b1uzdCKuA7</a>
Efforts to target younger residents came amid a general acceleration in the national immunization drive.
Canada's chief public health officer wrote on Twitter on Sunday that more than 2.5 million Canadians received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine between May 9 and May 15. More than 19 million Canadians, or half the national population, had received at least an initial dose of vaccine as of Saturday, although less than five per cent have been fully immunized with two shots.
Nationally, new COVID-19 cases continued to trend below the third-wave peaks reported in mid-April, although case counts remained high in several provinces — such as in Alberta, which reported 563 new cases and six more deaths on Sunday.
What's happening in Canada
As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,359,180 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 53,814 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,231. More than 21 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country.
Saskatchewan recorded 116 new COVID-19 cases and one death on Sunday.
Starting on Monday, the province will allow some to start booking their second vaccine shot.
The eligibility will be for:
- Residents aged 80 and older.
- Patients being treated for cancer or who have received solid organ transplants.
- Those administered a first dose on or before March 1.
In the Atlantic provinces, New Brunswick added 14 new infections, and officials confirmed a case at a Fredericton YMCA daycare; Nova Scotia recorded 74 new cases and its death toll rose by two to 79; and Newfoundland and Labrador logged 23 new cases — the highest single-day case count since Feb. 21 — as a cluster in Lewisporte-Summerford continues to grow.
In the North, health officials in the Northwest Territories have unveiled new rules for sick children who want to return to in-class learning that require students with even minor COVID-19 symptoms to undergo testing, or be assessed by a health-care provider, before returning to school.
What's happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 166.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, a tracking dashboard from U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University said. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.4 million.
In Europe, British health officials expressed optimism that the coronavirus restrictions remaining in England can be lifted in June after an official study found that the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines offer effective protection against the variant first identified in India.
In the Americas, Brazil's health minister said the government is concerned about the coronavirus variant first identified in India after the first cases of it were confirmed in the South American country.
In Asia, Pakistan's federal authorities reported a decrease in COVID-19 deaths and new cases and decided to reopen tourist resorts beginning Monday, but only for those who have either tested negative or got vaccinated.
In Africa, Kenya's Health Ministry said it is in talks with vaccine manufacturers such as Johnson &Johnson as it seeks alternatives to the AstraZeneca shot after shipment delays of the drug from India.
With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca