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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 6:55 p.m. Ontario is reversing course on sweeping new police powers a day after they were announced.

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

6:55 p.m.

Ontario is reversing course on sweeping new police powers a day after they were announced. 

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says officers will no longer have the right to stop any pedestrian or vehicle to ask why they are out or request their home address. 

Rather, she says police will only be able to stop those who they have reason to believe are participating in an "organized public event or social gathering."

The backtrack comes after politicians from across the spectrum decried the measures as overkill and several police forces said they had no plans to conduct random stops.

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6:30 p.m.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says two federal field hospitals will remain in Ontario until at least the end of June.

He says he's extended the deployment of the mobile health units until June 30 as the province deals with a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The military-style field hospitals are deployed at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto and Hamilton Health Sciences.

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6 p.m.

Alberta's chief medical officer of health is reporting 1,486 new COVID-19 cases, as well as three additional deaths.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says in a series of tweets that there are 17,307 active cases in Alberta, with 445 people in hospital, including 94 in intensive care.

She says the province has a test positivity rate of 9.2 per cent out of 16,353 tests.

The province says 977 of the most recent cases involve virus variants of concern.

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4 p.m.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province has decided to keep playgrounds open after all. 

They were initially among a number of outdoor recreation facilities the government ordered closed as part of an effort to contain a massive spike in COVID-19 cases. 

But Ford partially walked the measure back this afternoon, saying on Twitter that the rules will be amended to keep playgrounds open. 

He says the enhanced restrictions were always intended to clamp down on large social gatherings where the virus can spread more easily. 

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3:50 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 249 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths.

One of the deaths was a person in their 40s from the province's Central East zone, while the other was over 80 and from the North West zone.

Nearly 10,500 new doses of vaccine have been administered in Saskatchewan since the last report on Friday, raising the total number to 334,063 since immunizations began.

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2:30 p.m.

The Canadian Press has learned that the Ontario government is planning to backtrack on new police powers to enforce anti-pandemic measures.

A source with knowledge of the discussions says a "scoping-down"

clarification is currently being approved.

The measures -- which give police the power to stop anyone at random and ask why they're not at home and where they live -- drew intense criticism after Premier Doug Ford unveiled them on Friday.

Civil libertarians and politicians denounced them as overkill.

Police forces across the province also said they would not be stopping drivers or others at random.

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2:05 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19, including a staff member at a long-term care home.

Five of the new infections are in the Eastern zone, two are in the Halifax region and one is in the Western zone.

Four cases are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada, two are related to international travel and two are close contacts of previously reported cases.

Officials say a close contact case in the Halifax region is a staff member at Glasgow Hall, a long-term care home in Dartmouth, which has prompted all residents to be isolated and cared for in their rooms while all residents and staff are tested.

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2 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting 183 new COVID-19 cases today and three additional deaths.

According to the province's daily pandemic update, a man in his 60s in the Northern health region and two men in 80s in the Winnipeg region have died.

One of the Winnipeg deaths was connected to an outbreak on a unit at the city's Health Sciences Centre.

Manitoba has 128 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 32 in intensive care.

Officials are reporting a test-positivity rate of 5.3 per cent provincially and 5.4 per cent in Winnipeg.

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12:20 p.m.

Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19 today.

They say eight of the new infections are contacts of previously reported cases, two are travel related and the other is under investigation.

Seven of the new cases are in the Edmundston region, three are in the Saint John area and one is in the Moncton region.

The number of active cases in New Brunswick is 150.

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12:05 p.m.

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq says the territory recorded six new cases of COVID-19 today.

The announcement brings the number of active infections to 19, all in Iqaluit.

The premier says all patients are stable and isolating at home.

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12:05 p.m.

Alberta’s chief medical officer says the province has confirmed a rare blood clot case in a patient who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the patient, who is in his 60s and is recovering, marks the second Canadian case of the blood clot disorder known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT.

More than 700,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered across Canada to date.

Hinshaw says the second case does not change the province’s risk assessment, and that she continues to recommend the AstraZeneca vaccine for anyone 55 and older.

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11 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,537 new COVID-19 cases today and eight more deaths attributed to the virus, including five in the past 24 hours.

Health officials say hospitalizations rose by 28, to 692, while the number of patients in intensive care increased by eight to 175. 

The province says it administered 70,908 vaccine doses on Friday.

Quebec has reported a total of 335,608 COVID-19 infections and 10,793 deaths linked to the virus since the onset of the pandemic.

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10:50 a.m.

Ontario's daily COVID-19 case count is down from yesterday's single-day high, but the province has set a new record for virus-related hospitalizations. 

There are currently 2,065 COVID-19 patients in hospital, marking the first time that figure has passed the 2,000 mark. 

The province is reporting 4,362 new infections today, down from the record-high 4,812 logged a day earlier.

A number of new public health measures have taken effect across the province today, all of which are meant to contain the surging case counts. 

They include new powers allowing police to randomly stop drivers and pedestrians to ensure compliance with the province's extended stay-at-home order, tighter capacity limits on essential retailers and public gatherings, and the closure of outdoor recreation spaces.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2021. 

The Canadian Press