Coronavirus updates for March 28: Sophie Grégoire Trudeau fully recovers from COVID-19

The latest news on the novel coronavirus from Vancouver, B.C., and across Canada

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      9 p.m. 

      The most famous Canadian who contracted the novel coronavirus has been given a clean bill of health by her physician and Ottawa Public Health.

      Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife the the prime minister, delivered the news over social media tonight.

      "From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you to everyone who reached out to me with their well wishes. And to everyone who is suffering right now, I send you all my love," she wrote.

      Grégoire Trudeau tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a trip to the U.K. and feeling flu-like symptoms.

      She recovered at her home after the news was released on March 12.

      "These are challenging times. I know it’s not easy to be alone—we are all social beings, me included!" she wrote. "But just because we’re increasing the physical distance between us doesn’t mean we have to do the same emotionally. From social media to a simple phone call, there are so many ways for us to stay connected while we’re apart and actually deepen our relationships.

      "I strongly believe that science AND compassion will get us through this crisis. That means listening and following the health protocols and staying at home for the time being.

      "I feel so inspired to see so many people help and care for each other and help fight and control the spread of COVID-19. Neighbours are picking up groceries for each other, businesses are making the supplies we need, and artists are offering free performances to lift our spirits! This is what the world needs right now—and so many Canadians are doing that!

      "We’re going to get through this, my courageous friends and fellow Canadians, and we’re going to get through it together."

      6 p.m. Vancouver businesses try to contain spread of COVID-19 pandemic

      Unlike virtually every other food store in the city, the Sandy Farm Market at 2072 West 41st Avenue won't allow people into the store if they're not wearing a mask. The owner bought 2,000 masks before the number of cases started rising in Vancouver earlier this month.

      Other merchants are adopting different measures. Kestrel Books at 3642 West 4th Avenue requires customers to phone in advance. The owner, Ron Fryer, hands over the books at the front door. Nobody can enter the store to browse the shelves.

      Meanwhile, several restaurants are separating staff from customers with large tables on takeout orders. But in some establishments, such as Kilimanjaro Snack House & Catering and Talay Thai, staff are also wearing surgical masks and gloves.

      Today, the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, reported that there have been 92 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. over the past 24 hours.

      It brings the total caseload to 884. There have been 17 deaths in the province as a result of the novel coronavirus.

      Henry has tried to discourage healthy people from wearing masks, saying they're needed for sick people and health-care workers.

      12:50 p.m. Patient with COVID-19 speaks from hospital bed

      CBC anchor Natasha Fatah tweeted this interview with Erin Leigh, who has COVID-19. She spoke from her hospital bed in Calgary.

      12:11 p.m. Hotel workers endure economic shock as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

      Unite Here!, which represents 18,000 hospitality workers in Canada, says it will hold a telepress conference on Monday (March 30) to discuss the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on its members. 

      It comes after the Hotel Association of Canada estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the industry will shut down this year.

      According to Unite Here!, this would translate into 200,000 to 250,000 lost jobs across the country—with the majority being women, single parents, immigrants, and people of colour.

      Earlier this month, Local 40 president Zailda Chan issued a statement saying that more than 60,000 B.C. hospitality workers were "reeling from the blunt economic trauma hitting our industry due to the spread of the coronavirus".

      "What is missing in this crisis is a commitment from hospitality employers to ensure their employees do not lose medical benefits during this unprecedented public health crisis," Chan stated at the time.

      The catastrophic impact on the industry comes a few months after Local 40 reached agreements with four downtown Vancouver hotels following a protracted strike to improve working conditions.

      11:55 a.m. Saskatchewan has 30 new cases

      For a while, it seemed like Saskatchewan was being spared the worst effects of the novel coronavirus in comparison to B.C., Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta.

      But today, the Prairie province reported 30 new cases of COVID-19, its largest single-day increase since the pandemic began.

      It brings Saskatchewan's total to 134. Of those, six are in hospital and three are in intensive care.

      10 a.m. Ontario announces 151 new cases

      Ontario has become the second province, after Quebec, to exceed more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

      Today, the Doug Ford government announced another 151 lab-confirmed cases, bringing Ontario's total to 1,144. There are 63 patients in intensive care, with 46 requiring ventilators.

      Eighteen Ontario residents are believed to have died from the disease, though two have not yet been confirmed through lab testing to be linked to the novel coronavirus.

      8:30 a.m. People with COVID-19 symptoms can't fly domestically

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn't want people infected with the novel coronavirus taking domestic flights or riding on intercity trains.

      At his morning news conference, Trudeau said that those showing symptoms won't be allowed to board.

      The new rule will be enforced by Transport Canada and takes effect at noon on Monday (March 30).

      6:32 a.m. Protective gear sent to Indigenous communities

      The government of Canada has shipped 136 orders for personal protective equipment to Indigenous communities, according to Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller.

      That includes hand sanitizers, N95 masks, isolation shields, and gloves.

      6 a.m. Airplane cabin crews contract coronavirus

      This morning, CBC News revealed that four flight attendants and one pilot with Air Transat have COVID-19. And another seven WestJet employees are sick with the disease.

      Air Canada has not divulged how many of its workers have contracted the novel coronavirus.

      The news came after an American Airlines flight attendant died of COVID-19.

      The Canadian Union of Public Employees wants cabin crews to have access to N95 masks and long-sleeve isolation gowns.

      2 a.m. COVID-19 deaths reported on cruise ship

      A Holland America cruise ship, the M.S. Zaandam, is on its way to Florida after four older passengers died from COVID-19.

      There are 1,243 passengers, including 247 Canadians, as well as 586 crew. According to the company, 53 passengers and 85 crew have reported "influenza-like illness symptoms" and have reported to the vessel's medical centre.

      The company's sister ship, the Rotterdam, delivered medical supplies and additional medical staff while the M.S. Zandaam was docked off Panama.

      Healthy passengers are being permitted to transfer to the Rotterdam, where they will remain in staterooms.

      The M.S. Zandaam left Buenos Aires on March 7 on its way to San Antonio, Chile.

      "Due to global health concerns, Holland America Line made the decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible so guests could return home," the company said. "No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile."

      Case Summary

      * 67 new COVID-19 cases were reported in B.C. from March 26 to March 27.

      * 792 cases were confirmed in B.C. by March 27.

      * 73 people are in hospital in B.C. with COVID-19.

      * 275 people have recovered from COVID-19 in B.C.

      * 26 B.C. patients with COVID-19 are in intensive care in B.C.

      * 16 people have died from COVID-19 in B.C.

      * 391 cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

      * 262 cases are in the Fraser Health region.

      * 57 cases are in the Island Health region.

      * 70 cases are in the Interior Health region.

      * 12 cases are in the Northern Health region.

      * Approximately 3,500 tests per day are being conducted in B.C.