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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada on April 16

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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/NIAID-RML via AP

Here is the latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic. This file will be updated throughout the day (all times Eastern):

9:15 p.m.

B.C. is reporting two new outbreaks of COVID-19 — one at a long-term care facility in Cranbrook and one at an acute care unit at the Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge.

In a statement, the province said new cases have also been identified at four long-term care facilities where outbreaks had previously been declared over.

Outbreaks are now confirmed at 26 long-term care and assisted-living facilities and one acute care unit in the province.

There have been three additional deaths in B.C., bringing the provincial death toll to 78, along with 14 new confirmed cases of the disease for a total of 1,575.

A new order from provincial health offiecer Dr. Bonnie Henry is also in place, requiring agricultural employers to establish and maintain infection control plans.

The province said temporary foreign workers are arriving in B.C. for the season and they must self-isolate for 14 days.

5:45 p.m.

Alberta health officials are reporting 162 new cases of COVID-19.

That brings the total number of infections in the province to 2,158.

Two additional people have also died — a man in his 70s from the Calgary area and a woman in her 80s from the northern region.

5:30 p.m.

A migrant rights group is calling on the federal government to immediately help undocumented and migrant workers.

The Migrant Rights Network wants undocumented migrants to be issued an individual tax number, which would allow them to access the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.

The group says it has been trying to meet with the federal government for a month.

The group says the government doesn't realize the scope of the problem facing migrant workers.

4:20 p.m.

The Saskatchewan government has announced one new case of COVID-19 as it prepares a plan for how some businesses may start to re-open.

Health officials say there have been 305 total cases in the province.

Four people have died and 219 people have recovered.

Premier Scott Moe has said a re-opening plan could come as soon as next week if the number of new cases remains low.

Restrictions will remain on non-essential travel, visits to long-term care homes and mass gatherings will stay in place.

2:30 p.m.

The Manitoba government is restricting non-essential travel to the province's north and to remote communities to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Health officials say that while the province's numbers remain low, travel remains the main factor in cases to date.

There are several exceptions, including for people who travel for medical care or work, people who share child custody, and people who deliver goods and services.

Manitoba has four new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 250.

The number of deaths remains at five, and 121 people have recovered.

2 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of COVID-19, keeping the province's total at 117.

Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell says the numbers are good news, but people still have to stay home as much as they can.

Russell says 490 tests were conducted Wednesday and the province has to keep looking for more cases.

Premier Blaine Higgs says the province's state of emergency is being extended for another two weeks.

2 p.m.

An inmate has died from an apparent complication related to COVID-19 at a prison in British Columbia.

Correctional Service Canada says in a statement it is the first death related to the novel coronavirus among federally sentenced inmates.

It says in a statement the inmate died at Abbotsford Regional Hospital Wednesday.

The correctional service says the inmate, who has not been identified, was serving time at Mission Institute where 54 people have tested positive for the virus.

It says the inmate's next of kin has been notified and the BC Coroners Service will review the circumstances of death.

1:45 p.m.

The Vancouver Aquarium says it could be forced into bankruptcy and permanent closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aquarium has been closed since March 17 but faces monthly costs in excess of $1 million for animal care and habitat maintenance.

Ocean Wise Conservation Association, which operates the aquarium, says bankruptcy is likely by early summer if funding is not found.

The not-for-profit aquarium currently houses more than 70,000 animals.

It has laid off 60 per cent of its staff while it says the remainder are working reduced hours.

1:25 p.m.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says 143 more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 630.

He says most of the deaths did not occur in the past 24 hours, but have been added the list following a change of data collecting methods by the public health department as well as post-mortem investigations.

There were also 997 new cases, for a total of 15,857.

Legault said 2,000 doctors responded to his call yesterday to come help in the province's overburdened long-term care homes.

1:25 p.m.

The British Columbia government is offering cash-strapped communities relief measures that include tax payment delays, debt-borrowing initiatives and a 25 per cent commercial property tax cut, but not an outright financial bailout some cities have requested.

Finance Minister Carole James says most commercial property tax bills will be cut by a further 25 per cent with a second reduction in school property tax payments, which have already been chopped by 50 per cent.

James says in order to give businesses and landlords more time to pay commercial property taxes, the late payment date has been extended to October 1 from July.

She says to better address municipal cash flow and revenue shortfall issues, the province will allow local governments to borrow, interest-free, from their existing capital funds and carry debt into next year.

12:58 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today for a total of 252 confirmed cases.

Chief medical health officer Doctor Janice Fitzgerald says the new cases are in the province's Eastern Health zone.

Fitzgerald says 170 cases are considered recovered or resolved.

She's urging people to "stay in their bubble" in order to stay safe.

12:57 p.m.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada is talking with the United States about the agreement keeping the border closed to non-essential crossings.

Freeland says Canada's position is that the agreement should be extended.

She says regardless of what U.S. President Donald Trump says about wanting to re-open the border, decisions about opening Canada's side will be made by Canadians only.

Freeland says there are also discussions between premiers about interprovincial travel restrictions.

12:52 p.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, keeping the provincial total at 26 cases.

The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, says there is a collective sigh of relief every time there are no new cases on the Island.

Twenty-three cases are considered recovered.

Morrison says all cases on P.E.I. have been travel-related with no cases of community transmission.

12:35 p.m.

Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, says models are now predicting between 1,200 and 1,620 deaths from COVID-19 by April 21.

Last week the projections expected between 500 and 700 deaths this week, and Canada today has confirmed 1,048 deaths.

Tam says the overall curve is "bending" when it comes to the number of new infections being confirmed in Canada but the death rate is higher than expected because such a high proportion of outbreaks are in long term care centres.

Tam says more than 90 per cent of the patients confirmed to have died from COVID-19 are over the age of 60, and half of them lived in long term care centres.

12:25 p.m.

Public Procurement minister Anita Anand says 1.1 million more N95 respirator masks will arrive in Canada from China this week.

She says six flights from China have already arrived, and four more are coming this week.

Anand says already 17 million surgical masks and 800,000 N95 respirators have arrived.

Anand also said Irving Oil is the latest Canadian company that is shifting its business to help in the pandemic, adjusting some of its operations to produce hand sanitizer

12:15 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting 30 new cases of COVID-19 today for a total of 579 confirmed cases.

Health officials say that as of yesterday, there are seven licensed long-term care homes in Nova Scotia with cases of COVID-19, involving 42 residents and 23 staff.

While most cases in the province have been connected to travel or a known case, officials say there is now community spread.

To date, Nova Scotia has 18,453 negative test results and three deaths.

11:35 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it would be "absolutely disastrous" to reopen the economy too early and allow another explosion of cases that would undo all efforts to date.

Trudeau says reopening is also not possible until Canada has a plan for responding to cases that arise in second or third waves.

He says that response would include "massive" levels of testing, and rapid response plans to trace contacts and isolate patients immediately.

11:30 a.m.

The federal government is expanding a loan program for small businesses and introducing a new program to help small businesses pay their rent for the next three months.

The Canada Emergency Business Account was introduced previously to help businesses with payrolls between $50,000 and $1 million. Trudeau says more than 195,000 loans have been approved already, worth more than $7.5 billion.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the program will be opened to those with payrolls as low as $20,000 or as high as $1.5 million.

He says there will be more details coming on the rent assistance for small businesses but it has to be done with the provinces because they have jurisdiction over rental relationships.

11:25 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Quebec formally requested federal help for its health care workers Wednesday night.

He says the two governments are working on a response, which could involve the Canadian Red Cross, military or volunteers.

11:20 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke this morning to other G7 leaders to discuss the ongoing global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau says they are committed to working together to find a vaccine, develop new treatments and expand testing, as well as helping developing nations respond better to the crisis.

10:40 a.m. 

Ontario is reporting 514 new COVID-19 cases today, and 38 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 8,961 cases, including 423 deaths and nearly 4,200 cases that have been resolved.

The province completed 9,001 tests in the previous day, surpassing a target the health minister set last week after the premier expressed frustration that Ontario had been testing well below its capacity.

10:30 a.m.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it will lay off 1,700 pilots as the company continues to struggle with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Air Line Pilots Union says 700 employees received layoff notices effective May 1, with 1,000 more kicking in on June 1, depending on seniority.

One week ago, the Calgary-based company announced it would bring back nearly 6,400 laid-off workers to its payroll using Ottawa's emergency wage subsidy program.

The earlier layoffs did not affect pilots, who had signed a memorandum of understanding to stay on board through April. WestJet says the 1,700 laid-off pilots will be placed on inactive status and be able to access the federal wage subsidy.

9:10 a.m.

The 2020 RBC Canadian Open has been cancelled, a casualty of the PGA Tour's announced shortened schedule because of the novel coronavirus.

The four-day competition was scheduled to begin June 11 at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto.

The Canadian Open was first contested in 1904 and is the third-oldest continuously running tournament on the PGA Tour behind the British Open and the U.S. Open.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy won the title last year at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

6:50 a.m.

The Toronto Transit Commission says 38 of its bus drivers refused work on Wednesday over safety concerns related to COVID-19.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said five of the drivers initiated work refusals on Wednesday morning, followed by another 33 in the evening.

The Ministry of Labour said the report by the five workers did not meet the requirements of a work refusal, and the inspector is still ruling on the second round of claims.

Green said the Ministry of Labour cited the TTC's practices of rear-door boarding on busses, blocking of seats nearest to the driver and availability of hand sanitizer as examples of physical distancing measures in place to protect workers

The Canadian Press