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Canada surpasses 150,000 coronavirus cases

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Eight months after the novel coronavirus was first diagnosed in Canada, the number of cases recorded has surpassed 150,000.

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As of Friday, there were 150,302 confirmed cases across the country, and the crisis has claimed 9,255 lives. About 129,573 patients are considered recovered, and about 8.2 million tests have been conducted.

The milestone comes as health experts and political leaders sound the alarm over a dramatic recent rise in cases, particularly in Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

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Health Canada approves new rapid test for COVID-19

“The numbers are clear — back on March 13th when we went into lockdown there were 47 new cases of COVID-19. Yesterday alone, we had well over 1,000,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a rare televised address on Wednesday.

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“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring.”

Read more: Winter in a pandemic — How cold air could make the coronavirus spread more easily

On Friday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the country has a chance to curb a further escalation in cases. But public health authorities cannot achieve this on their own.

“Each of us must take action to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities,” she said at a press conference on Friday.

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Tam urged Canadians to limit their contact with others outside their household as much as possible, and take precautions such as handwashing, social distancing and wearing a mask.

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The national case count grew by an average of 1,175 cases daily during the last week, according to Tam.

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In addition to the rising caseload, health authorities in some virus hotspots are scrambling to meet surging demand for testing as schools reopen.

Quebec, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic, surpassed 70,000 cases on Friday. More than 5,800 Quebecers have died due to COVID-19. In Ontario, which added 409 new cases on Friday, there have been nearly 49,000 cases, along with over 2,800 fatalities.

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Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says we aren’t in a second wave

Alberta diagnosed a total of 17,343 cases after an additional 153 new infections were confirmed on Friday. The province’s death toll stands at 261.

On Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province is not in a second wave of the virus despite a recent surge in cases.

B.C. added another 98 COVID-19 cases as well as one new death on Friday. The announcement brings the province’s total lab-diagnosed cases to 8,487 while the death brought its death toll to 230.

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Another 154 cases are also considered “epidemiologically linked,” which are patients who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms and are related to confirmed cases, but have not been formally tested. One of those cases was part of Friday’s new infections.

Read more: Quebec tops 70,000 coronavirus cases as province reports 637 new infections

Saskatchewan cumulatively diagnosed 1,846 cases after reporting 11 new infections on Friday. The province has seen a total of 24 deaths from the virus.

Manitoba has had a total of 1,711 cases, of which 54 of which were announced Friday. An unknown number of the province’s cases are considered probable.

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Atlantic Canada, which has been under a travel bubble for months, has just a handful of active cases. One new case, in New Brunswick, was announced Friday.

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There are no active cases in Canada’s north.

Worldwide, cases of the coronavirus have surpassed 32.4 million according to a running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, while deaths have reached 987,000.

The United States, Brazil and India continue to lead in both cases and deaths.