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Coronavirus deaths in Canada approach 1,500; 33,000 people diagnosed

Canadian armed forces deployed to Quebec long term care homes amid COVID-19 crisis
Canadian armed forces deployed to Quebec long-term care homes amid COVID-19 crisis.

Canada surpassed 33,000 cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday as the prime minister announced the extension of the U.S. border closure and the military was deployed to long-term care homes in Montreal.

The national death toll stood at 1,470 as of Saturday evening, with over half of the fatalities in Quebec.

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Well over half a million tests have been conducted across the country, and more than 11,000 Canadians have recovered from COVID-19.

READ MORE: How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday that the land border with the United States would remain closed to non-essential travel for another 30 days to prevent the spread of the viral illness.

He also urged Canadians to continue staying apart from others despite indications that efforts to curb the spread of the virus were having the intended effect.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Canada-U.S. land border closure extended by 30 days amid COVID-19 pandemic
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Canada-U.S. land border closure extended by 30 days amid COVID-19 pandemic

“If we open too quickly, too soon or in the wrong way, we could find ourselves back in this situation a couple of months from now and everything we will have sacrificed during these months will have been for naught,” he said.

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The COVID-19 crisis has claimed 805 lives in Quebec, including 117 deaths announced Saturday. The number of confirmed cases in the province rose past 17,500.

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As of Friday, just over half of the province’s deaths took place in long-term care homes.

READ MORE: Canadian Forces arrive at Montreal seniors’ residences, health authorities rushing to train volunteers

Canadian Forces members with training in health care were sent to care facilities suffering from COVID-19 outbreaks in Montreal. The military said in a press release that 125 members were being deployed.

READ MORE: Manitoba reports 3 new cases of COVID-19, bringing total to 253

Ontario topped 10,000 cases on Saturday with the announcement of 485 new diagnoses. The provincial death toll stands at 514, second only to Quebec. Officials said Saturday’s numbers could be incomplete due to a technical issue. Premier Doug Ford also announced a $20-million investment in vaccine research.

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario announces $20 million in funding to fight COVID-19
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario announces $20 million in funding to fight COVID-19

Alberta has surpassed 2,500 cases of the virus, officials said Saturday, and nearly half of those infected have recovered.

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Saskatchewan reported six new cases, three of which are considered presumptive, meaning they haven’t been confirmed with laboratory testing. Manitoba announced three new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed and presumptive cases to 253.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Quebec counts 117 new deaths, cases climb to over 17,500

B.C. announced 29 new cases and three additional deaths due to the virus.

Nova Scotia announced an additional three deaths on Saturday — those who succumbed to the illness were residents at a Halifax seniors’ facility facing an outbreak. Forty-three additional cases in the province were announced as well. Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick reported one new case each.

There were no new cases in P.E.I. or the territories on Saturday. Nunavut remains the sole province or territory that has yet to report a COVID-19 case.

—With files from The Canadian Press and Alessia Simona Maratta, Global News