The latest news on COVID-19 in Canada (all times Eastern):
The Yukon government has announced a policy on mandatory masks in all indoor public spaces starting Dec. 1.
The territory is reporting 39 new cases of COVID-19 and says new restrictions include a 14-day isolation period for anyone having guests over the holidays.
However, only three days of isolation are required if guests leave in less than two weeks and neither they nor residents of the home have any symptoms, though visitors from outside Yukon must still isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Yukon has also announced a temporary COVID-19 testing drive-thru in Whitehorse from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. until Saturday.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says she does not dictate public health decisions, nor should she, because she is not an elected official.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she’s “profoundly disappointed” over a leak of confidential information from meetings she and her colleagues held to develop recommendations on how to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
A CBC story tied to anonymous sources and audio recordings references discussions in which Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney’s government appeared to have been at odds on some aspects of policy.
Hinshaw started her daily COVID-19 briefing by saying the leak is a violation of an oath and lets down all the people who have worked hard to protect the health of Albertans.
She says the leaked talks were taken out of context because they only reflect a portion of discussions that took place over several days.
She says her role is to provide advice on different public health options, but it is up to the government to make the decisions.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro says he has full confidence in Hinshaw and she has nothing to apologize for.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority says a fivefold increase of COVID-19 patients in ICUs in the last 30 days means nearly 100 per cent of intensive care beds provincewide are full.
It says Saskatoon is under particular pressure.
There were 35 COVID-19 patients in regular hospital beds in the city Thursday, but only a handful of intensive care spots available if their conditions worsened.
The health authority has already been diverting intensive care patients from outside the city to other ICUs in the province.
It’s warning people to stop socializing as contact tracing is becomingly increasingly strained because those testing positive have too many close contacts.
Officials say every positive case means hours of work for contact tracers and some investigations found a single person had 150 contacts.
A Saskatchewan jail is not accepting new people in custody after 68 offenders tested positive for COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health says 72 infections have been reported at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, which includes four staff.
The province says all new inmates at its jails will be tested for the novel coronavirus.
It recently made masks mandatory for all offenders.
Saskatchewan is reporting 299 new cases of COVID-19 and says three more people have died.
Manitoba’s top doctor says it’s going to be a different kind of holiday season as the province continues to see a surge in COVID-19 infections that’s putting pressures on the health-care system.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, says people should stay home and avoid travel within the province, as well as to other regions in the country.
Roussin reported 383 new cases and 10 more deaths Thursday.
There are 307 people in hospital with 46 people in intensive care.
New Brunswick is asking anyone entering the province to self-isolate for 14 days.
The province also introduced heightened public health measures in the Fredericton area, including single-household bubbles and restricted travel into and out of the area.
The new rules were announced as the province reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 today, including three in the Fredericton region.
There are now 105 active infections in New Brunswick, with 465 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says his government’s target is to be ready at the beginning of January to begin vaccinating people against COVID-19.
Legault told reporters today the government will first vaccinate people in long-term care homes, followed by health-care workers and then the elderly who live outside state-run care homes.
The premier says he is waiting on the federal government for news about when the first vaccines will arrive and how many Quebec can expect to receive every week.
Legault says news of effective vaccines is bringing hope that the fight against COVID-19 is almost over, but that Quebecers must be careful not to overload the health-care system in December.
Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, says Canada’s review of the Pfizer vaccine is the most advanced and is being done alongside the reviews in the United States and Europe.
She says she expects Canada to approve that vaccine at the same time as the U.S. does, which is expected by mid-December.
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting three new cases of COVID-19.
One is a girl under the age of 19, whose infection is related to a growing cluster in western Newfoundland.
The other two cases are travel-related, with one person arriving from East Africa and the other arriving from Nova Scotia before the Atlantic bubble was closed earlier this week.
The province now has 28 active COVID-19 infections, with 327 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic.
Arianne Reza, with Public Services and Procurement Canada, says purchase agreements with vaccine makers are now final for five of the seven companies involved.
That includes Pfizer and Moderna, whose vaccines are expected to be approved first.
Reza says negotiations are ongoing to finalize purchase agreements with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.
Nunavut is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since Nov. 6.
People have also recovered in Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove, bringing the territory’s number of active cases to 150.
Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says contact tracing is ongoing in Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove and public health staff continue to monitor everyone in isolation.
Patterson says the infected individuals have mild to moderate symptoms and no one has been hospitalized.
Ontario has logged another 1,478 cases of COVID-19.
It’s also reporting 21 new deaths.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says 572 of those cases are in Peel Region, and 356 are in Toronto — both of which are in the “lockdown” stage of the province’s pandemic protection plan.
The numbers also show that 556 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, an increase of 33 since Wednesday.
Nova Scotia is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19, the majority of which were identified in the central zone of the province.
The province’s health authority completed 2,253 tests for the disease on Wednesday.
Chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang says the province has seen an increase in asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons at pop-up rapid testing locations.
Nova Scotia now has 114 active cases.
Quebec is reporting 1,464 new COVID-19 infections and 32 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including eight that occurred in the past 24 hours.
Health officials say hospitalizations have jumped by 20, to 675, and 90 people were in intensive care, a drop of three.
The province conducted 33,023 COVID-19 tests on Nov. 24, the last day for which testing data is available.
Quebec has reported a total of 136,894 infections and 6,947 deaths linked to the virus.
Ottawa has pledged $19 million to Nunavut as the territory continues to grapple with a COVID-19 outbreak.
Most of the money, $11.36 million, will flow to the government of Nunavut to help with its emergency response.
The money will fund things like food support for households in isolation, water and sewage services and internet bandwidth for students learning from home.
There are 153 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.
The federal COVID Alert app is now linked to the health-care system in the Northwest Territories.
The free smartphone app lets people know if they were exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
Anyone in Canada can download the COVID Alert app, but British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Nunavut have not signed on to link it to their health-care systems.
The Canadian Press