Canada’s outbreak of the novel coronavirus has now claimed more than 8,000 lives.
The grim milestone was reached Friday morning after 11 more people died in Ontario. Another 43 deaths in Quebec and an additional fatality in British Columbia — the province’s first in a week — brought Canada’s death toll to 8,049 by the end of the day.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the virus — also rose in Canada by 414, with current cases in the country now sitting at 97,927.
Quebec remains the hardest-hit province in terms of cases and deaths.
COVID-19 infections there account for more than 54 per cent of the country’s total. The province’s proportion of fatalities remains even higher, with COVID-19 deaths there making up more than three out of five of the country’s deaths.
Public health officials across Canada have attributed the majority of the country’s deaths to outbreaks in long-term care homes.
Last month Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a tweet that seniors accounted for more than 80 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada.
Last week, Tam warned again of the elevated risks the virus poses to seniors and those with underlying medical conditions.
“In particular, seniors living in long-term care homes have borne the disproportionate impacts and severe outcomes of COVID-19,” Tam wrote in a tweet on June 5.
“Prevention and control of COVID-19 in this population is crucial for minimizing morbidity and mortality.”
The Canadian Armed Forces have since deployed members to Ontario and Quebec to help care for residents.
In a story reported by Global News in late May, military documents revealed that CAF personnel who were sent to nursing homes in Ontario observed shocking conditions such as a lack of infection control measures and mistreatment of residents.
Canadian Forces members deployed to five of the province’s worst-hit seniors homes described the care in the facilities as “borderline abusive, if not abusive” and worse, according to the documents.
Friday’s cases come amid what looks to be a declining trend of new cases reported daily across the country over the past week.
Daily reported cases of the virus spread across Canada have remained under the 1,000 mark for almost three weeks. Canada on Thursday recorded 405 cases, the lowest total since March 22.
Canada’s daily death toll has also been declining over the past week, with countrywide fatalities staying below 100 since June 4.
COVID-19 infections worldwide have since exceeded 7.6 million confirmed cases, including over 424,000 deaths, according to a running tally kept by John Hopkins University.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed two million Wednesday night. COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have exceeded 114,000.
The novel coronavirus was first identified in January after the city of Wuhan in China reported a cluster of then-unexplained pneumonia cases not associated with any known virus.
COVID-19, which has brought the world economy to a standstill and prompted wide shutdowns of non-essential businesses, was declared a pandemic on March 11.
—With files from Sean Boynton