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Canada’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 3,000; Nunavut reports 1st case of COVID-19

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Dr. Tam says goal of health measures to ensure each infected individual transmits the disease to less than one person' Coronavirus outbreak: Dr. Tam says goal of health measures to ensure each infected individual transmits the disease to less than one person
WATCH: Dr. Theresa Tam says the goal of Canada's health measures is to ensure each infected individual transmits the disease to less than one person – Apr 28, 2020

Close to 3,200 people have now died from the novel coronavirus in Canada, marking another sombre milestone for the country.

As of Thursday afternoon, 3,184 people had died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in Canada. The countrywide number of coronavirus cases topped 53,000. Nunavut reported its very first case.

READ MORE: Coronavirus spread slowing in Canada, death rate rises due to long-term care fatalities

Quebec and Ontario are the two provinces hit hardest by COVID-19. Both Ontario and Quebec represent more than 80 per cent of all confirmed cases in Canada. Quebec reported 98 deaths on Thursday – 92 of them lived in long-term care homes. The provincial death toll stood at 1,859, which is more than half of the national death toll, while Quebec reported more than 27,000 confirmed cases.

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In Ontario, there were 86 deaths on Thursday, bringing the province’s total to 1,082. The number of confirmed cases rose by 459 to more than 16,000. More than 10,000 Ontario residents have recovered from COVID-19 so far.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario Government issues health and safety guidelines to businesses' Coronavirus: Ontario Government issues health and safety guidelines to businesses
Coronavirus: Ontario Government issues health and safety guidelines to businesses – Apr 30, 2020

Numbers are significantly lower in the Atlantic provinces, where Nova Scotia reported 12 new cases on Thursday for a total of 947 cases and 28 deaths so far. New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island all reported no cases on Thursday. All three have varying plans for gradually reopening.

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Saskatchewan saw six new cases on Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 389 with six deaths so far. There are 88 active COVID-19 cases in the province – the rest are deemed recovered. The province plans to cautiously reopen its economy and services in five phases beginning on May 4.

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Manitoba is also eyeing a gradual reopening, after the province reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday for a total of 275. The death toll remains at six, with 220 recoveries.

READ MORE: Archived: Live updates on coronavirus in Canada

Alberta too is looking to take early steps for reopening slowly. The province reported 190 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths on Thursday, for a total of 5,355 cases and 89 deaths since the pandemic began.

British Columbia reported 25 new cases on Thursday and two new deaths, for a total of 2,112 cases and 111 deaths. More than 1,300 people have recovered in the province.

Click to play video 'How progress on COVID-19 compares across Canada' How progress on COVID-19 compares across Canada
How progress on COVID-19 compares across Canada – Apr 29, 2020

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Tuesday that a majority of COVID-19-related deaths in Canada — 79 per cent — are linked to long-term care homes, while people over the age of 60 account for 95 per cent of all deaths from the virus.

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Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday that the most recent federal modelling indicated that Canada’s curve is flattening.

“We are making clear progress to slow the spread and bring the epidemic under control,” she said.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian government expects to see between 3,227 and 3,883 deaths by May 5' Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian government expects to see between 3,227 and 3,883 deaths by May 5
Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian government expects to see between 3,227 and 3,883 deaths by May 5 – Apr 28, 2020

In order for the epidemic to end, Tam said the country needs to get to the point where each infected individual is only transmitting the virus to less than one other person, which she said is one of the primary objectives of public health measures.

“To date, stronger controls, including physical distancing, increased testing to identify and isolate cases and trace quarantine contacts are helping to reduce the average number of people each case infects to just about one,” she said.

Prior to social-distancing measures, Tam said each person was infecting an average of at least two others.

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that while the numbers show optimistic trends, Canadians shouldn’t expect a return to normal any time soon.

“Here’s the bottom line: the measures we’ve taken so far are working. In fact, in many parts of the country, the curve has flattened — but we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said.

“We’re in the middle of the most serious public health emergency Canada has ever seen. And if we lift measures too quickly, we might lose the progress we’ve made.”

With files by The Canadian Press, Global News reporters Gabby Rodrigues, Kalina Laframboise, Alexander Quon, Emily Mertz, Elisha Dacey