Canada surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, marking a grim milestone for the country as provinces work to control the second wave.
By the end of the day Monday, there were 201,225 confirmed infections in Canada, while the death toll stood at 9,778.
Only Prince Edward Island did not provide an update Monday, as they only report their data once a week on Tuesdays.
More than 10.6 million tests have been administered across the country, while 169,671 of all confirmed cases in Canada are considered resolved.
A majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada come from Ontario and Quebec — two provinces that are facing tighter restrictions for the next 28 days in heavily infected areas after a resurgence in cases
Quebec reported the highest case numbers in the country on Monday at 1,038 new infections — topping 1,000 cases for the fourth consecutive day — while Ontario recorded 704, most of which were from Toronto, Peel and York Region.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé called for the “cooperation of all Quebecers to break the wave” and slow the virus’ transmission on Twitter Monday, adding, “we will all get there together.”
Colin Furness, an epidemiologist teaching at the University of Toronto, told Global News the new national milestone represented a “heroic effort” to keep COVID-19 cases from overwhelming the health-care system, but was otherwise insignificant.
“It’s only telling us a portion of the iceberg above the water,” he said.
“The real question is how many Canadians have had COVID-19 — and we don’t know.”
The actual number of people in Canada who may have been infected with COVID-19 and not sought medical help or gotten tested for the virus is still unknown, Furness said. But if Canada has managed to keep its population infection rate below three per cent as the newly confirmed case numbers suggest, “that’s actually pretty good news.”
Even still, Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist with McMaster University, said 200,000 confirmed cases is “not a trivial number.”
“Nothing has ever affected that much of a population in this short a time,” he said.
Canada’s case counts are nowhere near the magnitude seen in other parts of the world, such as the United States, Chagla said, but these numbers should still serve as “an occasion to reflect” for Canadians.
“If you saw anything on paper that said something has affected two hundred thousand Canadians, from a health perspective you’d think it’s a major issue,” he said.
“There’s a lot of fatigue, and people think it’s a disease that hasn’t touched our country, but it certainly has.”
Meanwhile, the federal Conservatives have been pushing for an investigation into the federal government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As businesses are closed and in another series of COVID-related economic shutdowns, we are looking for answers as to why the federal government left Canadians unprepared to deal with this second wave,” Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner said Sunday.
“Canadians deserve an explanation about why the federal government only has an economic shutdown to rely upon after months, and billions of dollars being spent.”
On Sunday, chief public health officer Theresa Tam urged Canadians to work adhere to physical distancing guidelines and continue health safety practices like hand-washing.
“We’ve sacrificed a lot and learned a lot during these many months of living with COVID-19. Our challenge now and going forward is to remain united in our efforts to get all of Canada back on a ‘slow burn,'” she said in an online statement.
Tam said the federal government’s goal was to reduce cases of COVID-19 infection to manageable levels, but added “public health cannot do this alone.”
“Everyone is needed on the frontlines, from essential workers to volunteers to businesses, workplaces, and everyday citizens across Canada,” she said.
The latest numbers from Alberta showed an increase of 898 confirmed cases from over the weekend — split between 311 on Saturday, 231 on Sunday and 356 on Monday — tipping the country’s case count over 200,000.
Officials said four more people in the province had died, for a total of 292. More than 1.6 million tests for the virus have been conducted while 19,243 of Alberta’s 22,673 confirmed cases have recovered.
British Columbia on Monday also announced its case data for the first time since Friday. Over the weekend, 499 new cases — 172 on Saturday, 153 on Sunday and 174 on Monday — and two more deaths were recorded. Seven of those new cases are “epidemiologically linked,” meaning they have not been confirmed by laboratory testing.
The province has now seen a total of 11,475 confirmed cases and 212 more epi-linked cases to date, out of over 731,000 tests. The death toll now stands at 253, while 9,753 patients have recovered.
Saskatchewan recorded 66 more infections on Monday, bringing the provincial tally to 2,396. So far, 25 people have died while 1,973 have recovered after falling ill. More than 233,000 tests have been administered throughout the province.
Health officials in Manitoba diagnosed 80 more people with COVID-19 and said two more people had died. The province has seen a total of 3,382 cases and 42 deaths.
As of Monday, 1,597 people had recovered after testing positive while 226,594 had been tested for the virus.
Three more cases of COVID-19 were detected in New Brunswick on Monday, bringing its total to 313 confirmed infections out of nearly 93,000 tests. Three people have died in the province, while 207 are considered recovered.
No other cases were reported in Atlantic Canada Monday. Nova Scotia has seen 1,097 cases and 65 deaths to date, while 287 cases and four deaths have been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. There are 17 active cases between the two provinces.
As of Prince Edward Island’s most recent update on Oct. 13, 63 cases have been confirmed to date, 60 of whom have recovered.
In the northern territories, the Yukon reported two new cases, bringing its total number of infections to date to 17. The other 15 cases have long since recovered, while 3,751 people have been tested so far.
The Northwest Territories has seen just five cases out of 5,872 total tests performed. All of those cases have recovered, and the last reported case was over six months ago.
Nunavut remains the only jurisdiction without any local confirmed cases of COVID-19, although over 3,400 tests have been performed to date. A number of cases confirmed at a pair of local mines are all out-of-territory workers, and have been counted by their home jurisdictions.
Monday also saw the worldwide confirmed case count surpass 40 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, while 1.11 million people have died.
The United States continues to lead the world in both cases, at over 8.2 million, and deaths, at 220,000.