Coronavirus: Canada reports 54 new COVID-19 deaths as infections top 19,000

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Coronavirus outbreak: Federal ministers respond to Ipsos poll on social distancing
WATCH: Coronavirus outbreak — Federal ministers respond to Ipsos poll on social distancing – Apr 8, 2020

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated that the amount of recovered cases in Canada was 5,238. The story has been corrected to reflect the amount of recovered COVID-19 cases in Canada is 4,653.

Canada now has a confirmed 19,276 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 435 deaths.

The rise in numbers comes amid a total of 1,393 cases and 54 deaths newly announced across the provinces on Wednesday. Of the country’s positive cases, 4,653 have recovered.

Wednesday also saw several new announcements related to Canada’s response to COVID-19 on both the federal and provincial level.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government would be easing requirements for businesses to qualify for wage subsidies.

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According to Trudeau, businesses would need to show a 15-per cent decline in revenue for March as opposed to the previous 30 per cent to qualify.

New models showing the projection of Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 outbreak were also released on Wednesday, with health officials in the province forecasting at least 3,075 COVID-19-related deaths in a low-range scenario.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority also predicts in that same scenario, about 153,000 people in the province could be infected with the virus over the full course of the pandemic.

Manitoba, on the other hand, has postponed the province’s 150th birthday celebration over the spread of the virus, after announcing four new cases.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said that projections of the province’s outbreak were being calculated but did not want those numbers to spark alarm among residents.

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Health officials in the province warned that the next several weeks were “critical” in its fight to flatten the curve of the virus’ spread.

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“I am expecting many more cases,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer.

“In these next couple weeks, in the overall outbreak, the overall curve, they will be vital … in the long term.”

British Columbia also reported another five deaths on Wednesday from the virus, with the province’s death toll reaching 48.

Provincial health authorities did, however, hint at some positive news for the province’s outbreak, pointing out that its hospitalizations have dropped for the third consecutive day.

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Cases in Canada’s epicentre of the outbreak, Quebec, also topped 10,000 on Wednesday. Quebec Premier François Legault said earlier this week that the province’s numbers were stabilizing, but warned that they had a long, difficult battle against the virus ahead.

Projections of Quebec’s virus spread points to the province seeing between 1,263 and 8,860 COVID-19-related deaths by the end of April.

As of April 8, the province has recorded 174 deaths from the virus. The modelling has since predicted the outbreak’s peak to be reached on April 18.

Both Quebec and Ontario, the latter of which announced 550 new cases and 21 deaths on Wednesday, registered the highest increase in cases and deaths among all provinces in the country.

Cases in Ontario have now surpassed 5,000, including 174 deaths as of April 8.

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The Northwest Territories said on Wednesday it was creating a squad comprised of public health officers to enforce its COVID-19 measures.

N.W.T’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kami Kandola, told the Canadian Press that the squad was being created because her office was receiving too many complaints about residents not following the province’s distancing rules.

Although cases in the country’s territories remain sparse compared to the provinces, the announcement comes amid a newly reported case of the virus in the Yukon on April 8.

Health officials have since warned that an outbreak in the Canadian North, where many communities can only be reached by plane, will be catastrophic for public health systems.

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Wednesday also saw a spike in cases in the Maritimes after 32 more people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.

As of April 8, the province has 342 cases of the virus, with its first COVID-19-related death announced just a day earlier, on Tuesday.

Prince Edward Island also reported three new cases of the virus on Wednesday, pushing the province’s total to 25. Its response to the COVID-19 outbreak has officially put its 2019-20 budget into a deficit, P.E.I. announced last week.

Alberta announced 50 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, including three new deaths.

The report comes just a day after Premier Jason Kenney revealed grim projections of the virus’ spread across the province.

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During a televised address on Tuesday night, Kenney said that anywhere between 400 to 3,100 people could die in Alberta from COVID-19 by the end of summer.

“Our hearts go out to all of those who have been affected,” Kenney said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

With files from the Canadian Press and Global News’ reporters Olivia Bowden, Dave Giles, Elisha Dacey, Phil Heidenreich and Emerald Bensadoun.


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