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

Paul Lewis is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Arts Advocate of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore driftwood sculptor inspired by Esquimalt Lagoon

Paul Lewis is the 2021 Arts Advocate of the Year

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read