TORONTO — The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):
B.C. is reporting 737 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the province’s total number of cases to 90,786.
Sixty-eight of the new cases involve variants of concern, and those cases now account for 1,200 of the total.
There have been two additional deaths.
So far, the province has administered 490,022 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with 87,139 of them representing second doses.
Alberta is reporting a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases detected in the last 24 hours.
Officials say 696 people tested positive for the virus in the last day, and of those, 130 were cases of variants of concern.
The number of new daily cases has not been that high since the middle of January.
On a positive note, medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says no new deaths were reported.
She says it has been five days since a COVID-19 death has occurred in continuing care.
She says this is a positive sign that vaccines combined with public health measures are working.
Regina's largest school division says students will move to remote learning over concerns about the city's spread of COVID-19 variants.
Regina Public Schools says Grade 9 to 12 students will transition to online classes next Wednesday and younger grades will make the switch March 29.
The board says students will return to class after spring break on April 12.
The division says the temporary move to online learning is a proactive step to deal with the rise in more infectious virus strains.
Prince Edward Island is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 today.
Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says one case involves a man in his 20s who travelled outside Atlantic Canada.
She says another case involves a man in his 30s who travelled outside the Atlantic region for work.
Morrison says two of the man’s close contacts – a woman in her 30s and a male under the age of 19 -- have also tested positive.
The person under the age of 19 was involved in minor sports activities and Morrison says public health will reach out to his close contacts.
Saskatchewan is reporting 174 new COVID-19 cases.
Health officials say 86 of the new infections are found in and around Regina.
The provincial capital is a hot spot for more infectious COVID-19 variants.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed 156 variant cases provincewide.
It says most of them are from the stain first detected in the United Kingdom, known as B.1.1.7, and found in the Regina area.
The province says there are another 508 probable variant cases, with 434 found in the region.
Manitoba health officials announced the death of a man in his 30s and 91 new cases of COVID-19 Friday.
Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, says health officials are now strongly recommending people get tested for COVID-19 before travelling to First Nations communities.
Vaccine eligibility has also been expanded to people 69 and older and First Nation people 49 and older.
To date, 123,144 doses of have been administered.
New Brunswick is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today.
Health officials say one case is a person in their 60s in the Edmundston region.
They say the other case is in the Bathurst area and involves someone in their 40s.
New Brunswick has 48 active reported infections and one person in hospital with the disease.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is finalizing an agreement with the United States for 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
The White House has characterized the arrangement as a loan, to be reciprocated in a similar exchange of vaccine doses at a later date.
Trudeau says the two countries are putting the finishing touches on what Procurement Minister Anita Anand calls an "exchange."
Anand says the doses are expected in Canada by the end of the month.
Trudeau thanked President Joe Biden for his ongoing collaboration.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will receive one million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine doses per week through to the end of May.
Shipments are set to begin Monday.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada will have received 9.5 million doses by the end of March.
Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today.
The infections in the Halifax area are close contacts of previously reported cases.
Nova Scotia currently has 17 active infections.
Health officials say that as of Thursday, 58,036 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 20,050 people having received their booster shot.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadian Armed Forces troops will be deployed to northern Manitoba.
They will help with COVID-19 vaccinations in First Nations communities that are harder to reach.
He says the military is planning details for deployment in up to 23 communities.
Quebec is reporting 764 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more related deaths, including one in the past 24 hours.
Health officials says hospitalizations dropped by 15 to 504, and 99 people were in intensive care, a drop of two.
Health Minister Christian Dube is lauding the 38,459 vaccine doses administered on Thursday — a daily record since the inoculation campaign began.
The province had administered 872,459 doses as of Thursday, representing roughly 9.8 per cent of the population.
Canada's top doctor says an increase in more transmissible variants of the COVID-19 virus may be threatening progress in containing the spread of infections.
Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada has seen almost 4,500 variant cases, with 90 per cent related to the strain first detected in the U.K.
Tam says variants are threatening the country's progress before vaccines can bring full benefits.
She adds variants of concern are making up a higher proportion of new cases in parts of Canada.
To date, more than 922,000 cases of COVID-19, including over 22,500 deaths, have been reported nationally.
Ontario is reporting 1,745 new cases of COVID-19 today and 10 more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 478 new cases in Toronto and 344 in Peel Region.
She also says there are 174 new cases in York Region and 116 in Hamilton.
More than 61,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province since the last daily report.
Quebec is allowing everyone 65 and older across the province to sign up for a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Late Thursday, the province's appointment portal opened up vaccinations in all 15 health regions, after opening it to Montrealers in that age bracket one week ago and Abitibi-Temiscamingue and Cote-Nord residents earlier this week.
The Quebec government intends to vaccinate five million people with a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the next 100 days.
Ontario says that residents aged 75 and older can start scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments on Monday through the province's booking portal.
Adults 75 and older were set to become eligible by the first week of April.
However, Premier Doug Ford says the province's immunization effort is ahead of schedule.
Officials say more than 50 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and older have now received at least one vaccine dose.
A pilot program offering vaccines in some pharmacies is also expanding and will now offer the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot to anyone aged 60 and older.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2021.
The Canadian Press