A person wears a protective mask after grocery shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A person wears a protective mask after grocery shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Cancelling school break, delayed election: Provinces mull ways to slow COVID spread

Provinces are making a variety of choices

Voting in Newfoundland and Labrador’s upcoming election has been postponed in the area that includes the provincial capital of St. John’s because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

There won’t be any ballot boxes on the Avalon Peninsula on Saturday, but voting is to go ahead in other parts of the province. The results will not be released until all voting has concluded.

Chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk called for the move Thursday after provincial health authorities reported a record 53 new infections and 32 presumptive cases a day earlier.

Meanwhile, Ontario officials were deciding whether to cancel March break as a way to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Education Minister Stephen Lecce was expected to provide more details after getting advice from that province’s top doctor on whether cancelling the break would curb spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ontario’s largest teachers union has called on the government to keep March break in place, because students, families and teachers need the time off.

Back in Newfoundland, Chaulk had written a letter to party leaders saying the “current significant outbreak has had a profound impact on our ability to conduct a fair election, and immediate action is required to be taken.”

Chaulk wrote that people who’d signed up to work at polling stations were backing out in droves. Fifty-one people who were supposed to work in one district had all quit, he said.

Since a funeral-related outbreak in the spring, the province had not seen daily case numbers exceed 10 until this week. There are now 110 active cases in the province, the vast majority reported this week.

Ontario reported 945 new infections but public health officials warned that number was under-reported.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 258 new cases in Peel Region, 116 in York Region and 112 in Toronto.

On the vaccine front, after weeks of uncertainty in the supply chain, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, head of Canada’s distribution efforts, advised that manufacturers have said they will deliver the quantities promised for the end of the first quarter.

Fortin said the slowdown on Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveries will end next week as the company has confirmed it will send almost 1.8 million doses over the next four weeks.

READ MORE: Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine doses to Canada set to more than quadruple next week

Moderna’s next shipment, however, will be two-thirds of what was previously expected for the week of Feb. 22. The remaining doses needed to reach two million in the quarter are expected in March.

About 2.5 per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose of a vaccine so far. Only 0.5 per cent have received a second dose.

“We’ve had a few hiccups, but overall I think we are still on track,” said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer.

Over the past seven days, there have been 24,331 new infections across the country. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,476.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

A collaborative genomic research project is underway to map the movements of 118 Northwest sockeye populations to better inform management decisions on at-risk stocks. (File photo)
Genomic study tracks 118 Northwest B.C. sockeye populations

Development of new tool will be used to help harvesters target healthy groups

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read