People line up at a COVID-19 vaccination centre, Friday, April 23, 2021 in Deux-Montagnes, Que. Canada's two biggest provinces are continuing to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as they report lower hospitalization figures.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Manitoba, Nova Scotia cracking down amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Manitoba, Nova Scotia cracking down amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Manitoba braced for tougher COVID-19 public health measures and Nova Scotia announced it would restrict entry amid a surge in infections, as Ottawa introduced new ways for small and medium businesses to access rapid tests to thwart workplace outbreaks.

Manitoba was set to tighten restrictions later Friday amid an “alarming” rise in cases, said Dr. Jazz Atwal, the province’s deputy chief public health officer.

The province has already banned most social visits in homes and outdoor public gatherings are capped at 10.

Churches, stores and gyms must operate at reduced capacity and restaurants can only allow members of the same household to sit together at indoor tables.

New infections are up 25 per cent over the last week. Friday’s daily case count of 502 was the highest the province has seen since the middle of the pandemic’s second wave last winter and intensive care beds are in higher demand.

Also in Manitoba, fines for COVID-19 rule-breakers that currently range from just under $300 to $5,000 are being doubled for subsequent offences.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported a new daily high of 227 new cases and Premier Iain Rankin said overwhelmed staff had yet to enter another 200 positive cases into the province’s database.

Starting Monday at 8 a.m., the province’s boundaries will be closed to all non-essential travel. That includes anyone intending to move to the province or parents from outside Nova Scotia hoping to pick up or drop off students.

“There’s no coming in or out unless it’s absolutely essential,” Rankin said. “If you want to spend your summer here or go to your summer home, you can’t do that right now.”

Under the new rules, rotational workers returning home from so-called outbreak zones — such as the oilsands hub of Fort McMurray, Alta. — must self-isolate for 14 days. As of Saturday, all Nova Scotia households must also designate one shopper.

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced rapid tests, which screen for the virus in as little as 15 minutes, can be ordered from 40 Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Ontario hot spots. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s network is helping distribute kits to enterprises across the country.

Tests can also be ordered directly through a new federal online portal.

“More screening and testing means safer workplaces and less community transmission,” Trudeau said Friday. “That will help us reopen our economy faster.”

The federal government has received nearly 42 million rapid tests. Of those, 26.7 million have been sent directly to provinces and territories, but have in many cases been slow to roll out from there. So far, another one million have been given directly to organizations and workplaces.

Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the move.

“Rapid testing will play an important role in keeping workers safe and helping many businesses reopen and stay open,” he said in a news release. “That’s the only path to real, sustainable economic recovery.”

The federal Conservatives accused Trudeau’s Liberals of dragging their feet on rapid tests and said Friday’s announcement came only after months of Opposition pressure.

Back in the west, some 2,000 Alberta truck drivers who transport goods across the border will, as of Monday, be able to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a rest stop in Montana at no cost and without appointments.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have similar deals with North Dakota.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney urged Ottawa to push the United States to relax its ban on shipping doses over the border.

Alberta leads Canada in COVID-19 cases and has a seven-day new infection rate twice that as the next highest province, Ontario. It tightened restrictions this week on retail, dining, personal services and gatherings so as to avoid pushing its health-care system beyond capacity.

It reported 1,980 new infections and 659 COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals, including 150 in intensive care.

Elsewhere on the Prairies, Saskatchewan reported 295 new cases and one more death. The province said all residents 12 and older will be eligible for their first vaccine shot by May 20.

To the east, Quebec reported 919 new infections and five more deaths, but six fewer hospitalizations and five fewer intensive care patients.

Ontario recorded 3,166 new cases of COVID-19, but cautioned that number may be under-reported due to a technical issue. It had 23 more deaths linked to the virus and said hospitalizations there have dropped by 40.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press


Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

A Comox Valley 55+ baseball team isa being organized for the 2021 season. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
18U AAA Carstar Braves start season strong

The Red Deer Carstar 18U AAA Carstar Braves started the Baseball Alberta… Continue reading

(Contributed image).
Online poetry reading to benefit Red Deer women experiencing period poverty

The Period Promise Poetry Powerhouse is a central Alberta collective of some… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron, right, celebrates after scoring on Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Montreal hangs on for 3-2 win to even series with Golden Knights at a game each

Canadiens 3 Golden Knights 2 (Series tied 1-1) LAS VEGAS — Montreal… Continue reading

New York Yankees Gary Sanchez celebrates his two-run home run during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Cole, Sánchez, Chapman come through as Yanks edge Blue Jays

Yankees 3 Blue Jays 2 BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gerrit Cole pitched eight… Continue reading

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young, right, is fouled by Philadelphia 76ers' Matisse Thybulle during the second half of Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Hawks rally from 26 points down, stun 76ers in Game 5

Hawks 109 76ers 106 (Atlanta leads series 3-2) PHILADELPHIA — Trae Young… Continue reading

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

OTTAWA — Annamie Paul is firing back against the coterie of party… Continue reading

Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan leaves the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Bill to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clears Senate

OTTAWA — A landmark piece of Liberal legislation aimed at harmonizing Canada’s… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) flips a shot on New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Russian goalies highlight Lightning-Islanders series

NEW YORK — Semyon Varlamov is the wily veteran, coming off a… Continue reading

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime reacts during his ATP Tour Singles, Men, Round of 16 tennis match against Switzerland's Roger Federer in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Friso Gentsch-dpa via AP
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime upsets Roger Federer in second round of Noventi Open

HALLE, Germany — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime earned one of the biggest victories… Continue reading

A course official keeps out of the sun on the seventh green during a practice round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A different US Open than imagined at Torrey Pines

The spectacular ocean vistas will fill TV screens as usual, along with… Continue reading

Most Read