Quebec reports 737 new COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours, nine more deaths

MONTREAL — As many students in the province get set for Spring Break, Quebec reported Sunday that 737 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the overall total to 287,740 since the pandemic began. Of the overall total, 269,530 are reported to have recovered from the disease, an increase of 885. The Quebec Institute of Public Health is reporting that there are 7,817 active cases, a decrease of 156 from Saturday. That number is the lowest number of active cases since Oct. 1 when there were 7,527. The seven-day average for new daily cases is now 803.  Quebec reported nine new deaths due to the novel coronavirus including four in the past 24 hours, two between Feb. 21 and Feb.

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More than 300,000 COVID-19 cases logged in Ontario since beginning of pandemic

TORONTO — Ontario is marking a grim milestone Sunday as health officials report that the province has logged more than 300,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in January. The news comes as 1,062 new infections were recorded in the previous day as well as 20 deaths related to the disease. Sunday’s report brings Ontario’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 case total to 300,816, including 283,344 recoveries and 6,980 deaths. With 49,185 tests processed in the last 24-hour period, the province says its COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 2.4 per cent. The seven-day average for number of cases reported in Ontario is 1,104. This time last week, that number was 1,031. Where are the new COVID-19 cases? Most of the cases reported

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‘Time for patience is over’: Sajjan vows action on culture change within Canadian Forces

OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he’s committed to swift action on the promise of widespread culture change within the Canadian Armed Forces following allegations of misconduct against two top military officials. In an interview on CTV’s Question Period with host Evan Solomon, Sajjan said the Forces need to start “preventing” these kinds of events, rather than “reacting” to them. Sajjan announced Wednesday evening that Admiral Art McDonald was “voluntarily” stepping aside as Canada’s chief of defence staff, while a military police investigation into unspecified allegations of misconduct against him is ongoing. Sajjan appointed Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre as acting chief of the defence staff in the interim. There is also a separate investigation into McDonald’s predecessor, Jonathan Vance, who

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U.S. approves 1-dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways. The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where

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Blood tests could be early indicator of COVID-19 severity: study

TORONTO — A new study says that blood tests may be the key for doctors to get an idea of what to expect when treating COVID-19 patients. Often, when a COVID-19 patient is admitted to the hospital, there’s no clear indicator of how severe their disease may become, if they’ll require ventilation, if their stay will be days or weeks, or if they’ll make it out alive. A new test aims to answer those questions once patients arrive at the hospital. The study, published Friday in Blood Advances, found that certain elevated “biomarkers,” which are an indicator of disease, could predict a diseases’ severity, but researchers say further study is needed. The biomarkers researchers looked at are called neutrophils, a

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A glimpse inside Canada’s ‘sinister’ horse meat industry

CALGARY — Canada – and in particular Alberta – is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of horses for meat. More than 25,000 are slaughtered annually. The meat is frozen and exported, mainly to Japan, France and the U.S. But what is most controversial is how the industry feeds the desire for fresh raw horse meat in Asia. Thousands of live horses are loaded onto airplanes annually and flown thousands of kilometres away, where they are fattened up for slaughter. The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition describes that voyage as cruel and inhumane: “They are…stuffed…into small wooden crates, three to four horses per crate. Often, there isn’t enough headroom. There’s no room to lay down. They can’t stretch out. Sometimes horses

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Second World War plane flyby marks U.K. Capt. Tom Moore’s funeral

LONDON, U.K. — A Second World War-era plane flew Saturday over the funeral service of Captain Sir Tom Moore, in honour of the veteran who single-handedly raised millions of pounds for Britain’s health workers by walking laps in his backyard. Soldiers performed ceremonial duties at the service for the 100-year-old, whose charity walk inspired the nation and raised almost 33 million pounds ($46 million.) Captain Tom, as he became known, died Feb. 2 in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. Just eight members of the veteran’s immediate family attended Saturday’s private service, but soldiers carried his coffin, draped in the Union flag, from the hearse to a crematorium and formed a ceremonial guard. Others performed a gun salute, before

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Canada’s vaccine arsenal could get another addition within weeks: senior health official

OTTAWA — On the heels of Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson shot could join the country’s arsenal within weeks, says Health Canada’s Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma. “Within March I think is a very reasonable expectation for that final decision, of course with all the caveats of making sure that the data is there and we don’t have any issues that come up,” she said about the ongoing Health Canada review of the vaccine candidate from pharmaceutical company Janssen. Canada’s federal health agency has been assessing the Johnson & Johnson shot since Nov. 30, and like AstraZeneca, it’s logistically easier to administer as it can be shipped and stored in fridges rather

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Canada more than doubles COVID-19 vaccine distribution this week

TORONTO — Canada is seeing an upsurge in vaccines distributed across the country, with numbers making up more than double of what was allocated in the last two weeks. As of Feb. 21, Canada has made a total of 1,850,000 doses available nation-wide. This is approximately 400,000 more doses than what was distributed to provinces and territories the week of Feb. 14 and doubling what has been distributed in the first two weeks of February.  In the past five days, Canada received even more shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a Friday briefing that Canada has now received a total of 643,000 doses, making it the largest week of shipments to date.  Feb.

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Queen says COVID-19 vaccine is quick, painless and helps others

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II is encouraging people to be vaccinated against COVID-19, saying the shot is quick, harmless and will help protect others against the disease. In a video call with the officials responsible for rolling out the vaccine, the 94-year-old monarch compared the effort that’s gone into Britain’s national vaccination campaign to the way people worked together during World War II. “Well, once you’ve had the vaccine you have a feeling of, you know, you’re protected, which is, I think, very important,” the queen said on a tape of the call broadcast Friday. “And as far as I can make out it was quite harmless, very quick. And I’ve had lots of letters from people who’ve been very

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