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

Myron Wiebe is one of 14 Canadian cadets who will perform virtually with the Commonwealth Day Cadet Band Concert. / Submitted Photo
Mission air cadet to perform virtually with cadets from around the world for Commonwealth Day

Myron Wiebe and 14 other Canadian cadets selected based on excellence in cadet music program

Heather P. (Right) and Hope Buy-Low Foods store manager Pauline Newbigging (left) show off Heather’s winnings as she enjoys free groceries for a year. The prize package from Buy-Low, one of six chain-wide, is valued at more than $5,000. (Photo/Pauline Newbigging)
Hope Buy-Low shopper wins free groceries for a year

Prize package from MYNR app valued at $5,200

David Leger (left) and Ben Nyland (right) at the 2016 Globe Conference. As Loop Energy grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise, Leger handed the CEO reins to Nyland, who continues to run the company. (Submitted photo)
Loop Energy: Believing in a dream pays off for Chilliwack investors

This is part 3 of a 3-part series on the rise of Loop Energy, now being traded publicly on the TSX

Signs geared to protecting salmon habitat were damaged at the Fraser River near Chilliwack. (Facebook)
New signs for protecting Fraser River habitat near Chilliwack vandalized

Fishery officers want off-road users to enjoy river resource in the ‘least damaging way possible’

Abbotsford Regional Hospital (Black Press file photo)
Nurse assaulted at Abbotsford hospital in same ward as 2019 dumbbell attack

‘Completely unacceptable that nurses continue to be assaulted,’ says union president

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

Most Read