covid-19

COVID-19 live updates: Health Canada warns against using masks containing graphene


Montreal reported the highest increase of coronavirus in Quebec Friday, with 388 new cases.

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Updated throughout the day on Friday, April 2. Questions/comments: kthomas@postmedia.com


Top updates:

  • Quebec Health Ministry weights in on air-quality controversy
  • Johnson & Johnson includes adolescents in clinical trials
  • Health Canada issues warning for graphene masks
  • Quebec reports 1,314 cases, 5 deaths
  • Doctors sound alarm on Montreal schools
  • Ottawa and Gatineau mayors urge residents to avoid inter-provincial travel

2:55 p.m.

Only 1% of Montreal students met healthy-lifestyle guidelines in second wave

A study by Montreal public health found that just one per cent of students were meeting recommendations to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the second wave of the pandemic. Recommendations involve limited screen time and a certain number of hours of sleep that varies by age.

“The one number that sums it up … is that one per cent, or one in 100, of the students who we asked in the study met all of the three recommendations,” said David Kaiser, the physician responsible for environmental health at Montreal public health. “Also, half of the students aren’t meeting any of the recommendations.”

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Read the full story here.


2:15 p.m.

Quebec Health Ministry weighs in on air-quality controversy

The Quebec Health Ministry says it worked with the Education Ministry to create an air quality test protocol in schools last fall, but it stopped short of saying it approved Education Minister Jean-François Roberge’s methods.

According to a statement issued Friday, the ministry’s public health arm was consulted on a proposal to study carbon dioxide levels in schools. It then asked the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) to make recommendations, the ministry said.

The statement comes a day after Roberge came under fire over allegations he lied when he said public health approved his protocols for testing air quality in classrooms.

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Read our full story here.


1 p.m.

Johnson & Johnson tests vaccine in adolescents

On Friday, Johnson & Johnson announced it has begun including adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 in its vaccine study.

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12:50 p.m.

CDC says vaccinated Americans can travel in U.S. ‘at low risk to themselves’

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new travel guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans.

As long as people continue to take COVID-19 precautions while travelling, including mask-wearing, avoiding crowds, distancing and hand-washing, those who are fully vaccinated do not need to be tested or to quarantine following travel within the U.S.

“With millions of Americans getting vaccinated every day, it is important to update the public on the latest science about what fully vaccinated people can do safely, including guidance on safe travel,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement.

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Vaccinated Americans can travel internationally without getting a COVID-19 test before departure unless it is required by the destination country. They will not be required to quarantine upon return to the U.S. unless their state requires it, but they will have to show a negative COVID-19 test result before flying back. They will also have to take another test three to five days after arrival.

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12:20 p.m.

Health Canada issues warning for masks containing graphene

Health Canada is advising against the use of masks that contain graphene due to a potential health risk associated with inhaling graphene particles.

The agency conducted an assessment after being made aware that masks containing graphene were used by adults and children in schools and daycares, and potentially in health-care settings.

A preliminary assessment of available research showed that inhaling graphene particles could potentially cause early lung toxicity in animals, though the potential for humans to inhale particles from masks and related health risks are unclear at the moment.

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Graphene is a material made of tiny particles that is reported to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

While it assesses the potential risks, Health Canada is removing the masks from the market. It has asked distributors and manufacturers to issue recalls and asked the provinces and territories to stop distribution for the time being.

There are several variables that impact the potential to inhale particles and how that would affect health, the agency explained. They include the amount of exposure, the duration of exposure, and the type of graphene used.


11:50 a.m.

Updated charts: Quebec cases, deaths


11:45 a.m.

Quebec’s deputy premier is out of preventive isolation

Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault’s preventive quarantine ended Friday when she received a negative result on her second COVID-19 test.

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Guilbault announced Sunday that she had to isolate after the father of her children came into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

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11 a.m.

Quebec reports 1,314 new cases of COVID-19, 5 more deaths

Quebec health officials reported another 1,314 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the province since the start of the pandemic to 313,676. Of them, 9,428 are active.

The province also reported another five deaths linked to the virus, bringing the total to 10,681.

Hospitalizations increased by 16 from Thursday to Friday and there are now 503 people receiving treatment in Quebec hospitals. Of them, 121 are in the intensive care ward, up two from Thursday’s total.

As of Friday, 293,567 people are confirmed recovered from COVID-19 in Quebec, an increase of 919 since Thursday.

Montreal reported the highest increase in Quebec cases Friday, with 388, bringing the city’s total to 116,588 since the start of the pandemic.

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Quebec reported that it analyzed 42,286 COVID-19 tests on March 31 (Quebec reports its daily testing figures from two days prior).

The province will not be updating vaccine data over the long weekend. In its last update, Quebec reported that a total of 1,391,649 doses have been administered, representing 16.4 per cent of the population.


10:30 a.m.

CDC says fully vaccinated Americans can safely gather for Easter

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10:30 a.m.

Trudeau reminds Canadians to ‘do things differently’ for Easter weekend

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10:15 a.m.

Doctors say it’s a matter of days before ‘the fire spreads’ in Montreal schools

A group of epidemiologists and a microbiologist are demanding Quebec close schools in the Montreal area, arguing it’s just a matter of time before “the fire spreads” in Montreal.

The group, which goes by the name COVID-STOP, wants Montreal to be placed under the same confinement measures Premier François Legault recently announced for Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau.

Read the full story here.


10:15 a.m.

Tribunal orders senior’s residence to lower rent given decreased services

A resident at Les Habitations Pelletier was awarded the rent deduction he requested because of a decrease in services amid the pandemic.

While the residence argued the tenant never used the services to begin with and that activities have been modified to fit health recommendations, the Tribunal administratif du logement ruled that since the rent included the services and they were diminished, he should get a reduction.

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The Regroupement des comités logement et des associations de locataire says the decision could set a precedent for other seniors’ homes.

Read the full story here.


10 a.m.

Some will likely gather for Easter despite pandemic lockdowns

Pandemic exhaustion could drive some Canadians to gather for Easter despite public health guidelines, according to an online poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies.

Statistics suggest more than 40 per cent of Canadians feel safe attending family gatherings, and a quarter believe the government is exaggerating the danger of the virus.

“We’ll need to keep warning people that they need to be cautious,” said Jack Jedwab, ACS president. “It’s a very hard ask of people right now not to gather at this time of year, even though it’s something we must do.”

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9:30 a.m.

Ottawa and Gatineau mayors ask residents to avoid inter-provincial travel

Those who live near the Gatineau/Ottawa border are being asked not to travel to the opposite city for the next few weeks unless they must work or care for a loved one.

The request comes as Ontario implements a four-week lockdown, causing restaurant dining rooms and fitness centres to close.

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin agreed, Watson said, as the city enters a two-week lockdown due to a recent uptick in cases in the area.

Prior to the lockdowns on either side of the border, Gatineau residents could dine in Ottawa restaurants, but the opposite was not permitted.

Read the full story here.



8:30 a.m.

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