The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):
The federal government has reached an agreement with American company Abbott to buy 7.9 million rapid-test devices once they are approved by Health Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, is pushing back against calls for Ottawa to quickly approve rapid tests for COVID-19, saying the decision is ultimately up to federal scientists.
Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says rolling out inaccurate COVID-19 tests can lead to further infections if there is a large number of false negatives.
Health Canada is publishing new advice for companies rushing to develop rapid tests for COVID-19.
The department’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, says reviewing the rapid tests already submitted for approval is a top priority.
Sharma says it is critical to ensure the tests are accurate and don’t produce a large number of false results.
She also says Canada’s approval process is similar to other countries’, and that some of the rapid tests already rolled out elsewhere simply have not been submitted for Canadian approval.
Quebec is reporting a jump in the number of hospitalizations today along with 799 new COVID-19 cases and seven additional deaths linked to the virus.
Officials say two of the deaths were reported in the past 24 hours while five others occurred between Sept. 22 and 27.
Authorities reported 35 more people in hospital today for a total of 247, while the number of patients in intensive care increased by four to 41.
Montreal and Quebec City, which are set to go to the highest COVID-19 alert level on Thursday, posted the most new infections, followed by the Monteregie region south of Montreal.
Ontario is reporting 554 new cases of COVID-19 today and four new death from the illness.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says 251 cases are being reported in Toronto, 106 in Ottawa, 79 cases in Peel Region and 43 in York Region.
She says 62 per cent of the new cases are among people under the age of 40.
In total, 137 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 30 in intensive care.
Authorities in the Montreal area are urging people aged 18 to 34 to get tested for COVID-19 as the city and surrounding area move into the maximum pandemic alert level.
Montreal’s public health director, Dr. Mylene Drouin, told a news conference today the city has reported 1,669 COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, which equals about 240 cases per day.
She says people in the 18 to 34 age range have shown high rates of testing positive for COVID-19 but are not getting tested enough.
Authorities say 61 people are currently in hospital due to COVID-19 in Montreal, with 17 people in intensive care.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.