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Coronavirus cases surge across Canada as vaccine still months away

A person wears a disposable mask as they walk by a Christmas decoration in a store in Kingston, Ontario on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues across Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Canada added 5,631 new coronavirus cases and 89 deaths on Thursday. It is the third-highest daily case increase on record in the country.

Canada now has reported 352,781 cases and 11,799 deaths total.

Today’s numbers come as it was revealed that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate could be approved in Canada by the end of the year.

Read more: Canada could approve 1st coronavirus vaccine by end of 2020

“As things stand now, we expect certain vaccines to become available in early 2021,” Health Canada deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said.

“However, it’s important to note that the initial supply of these vaccines will be limited … When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready.”

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According to the federal government on Thursday, Canada is expected to gain six million vaccine doses total in its first batch, to be distributed between provinces on a per capita basis.

Since two doses of a vaccine are necessary per person, the amount could treat up to three million Canadians total.

For now, though, provinces are seeing an uptick in cases across the country.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Initial Canadian COVID-19 vaccine distribution to focus on three core groups' Coronavirus: Initial Canadian COVID-19 vaccine distribution to focus on three core groups
Coronavirus: Initial Canadian COVID-19 vaccine distribution to focus on three core groups – Nov 26, 2020

British Columbia set another single-day record on Thursday with 887 new cases and 13 deaths. The province now has 7,899 active cases.

Almost a third of the province’s 384 total deaths have been reported in November alone, with 64 deaths occurring in the last week. Eighty-four per cent of the fatalities are among people over 70 years old.

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Meanwhile, Alberta reported 1,077 new cases that occurred in the last 24 hours. There are currently 383 people in hospital due to the virus, with 84 of them in intensive care.

Ten deaths also occurred in the last 24 hours in the province, nine of which were connected to COVID-19 outbreaks in places such as long-term care homes. A total of 510 Albertans have now died from the virus.

Read more: Alberta’s positivity rate sits at 7%; rapid tests coming to some assessment centres

Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced a state of public health emergency on Tuesday for the second time in the pandemic, which came with new restrictions on social gatherings as well as rules for masks in workplaces.

Ontario reported 1,478 new cases on Thursday and 21 more deaths.

The province has seen hospitalizations go up more than 63 per cent in the last four weeks, according to new provincial data, with those in intensive care expected to hit 200 next month. There are currently 556 people in hospitals in the province related to COVID-19.

In Quebec, 1,464 new cases were announced Thursday, setting a new record for daily infections for the province. The province also reported 32 more deaths, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours.

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Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Legault says he’ll prohibit holiday gatherings if cases increase too much' Coronavirus: Legault says he’ll prohibit holiday gatherings if cases increase too much
Coronavirus: Legault says he’ll prohibit holiday gatherings if cases increase too much – Nov 26, 2020
“If our numbers increase too much, we won’t allow gatherings,” Quebec Premier François Legault said. “[But] we have no magic answer.”

The province has seen 136,894 cases total so far and 6,947 deaths, the highest in the country. There are currently 675 hospitalizations, 90 of which are in intensive care.

Out east, the once-hailed “Atlantic bubble” has seemed to burst as cases have risen in the eastern provinces.

New Brunswick reported 12 new cases Thursday to bring its total active cases to 105. The increase is fuelled by young adults, the province’s chief of health said.

Read more: New Brunswick reports 12 new COVID-19 cases, ends Atlantic bubble

The uptick has caused New Brunswick to end its border deal with neighbouring provinces. Effective midnight, anyone travelling to New Brunswick from another province, including any Atlantic province, must self-isolate for 14 days unless exempt.

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Nova Scotia announced 14 new cases, bringing its total active cases to 114. The province said no one is currently in hospital due to the virus.

PEI reported no new cases, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new cases.

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Coronavirus: Saskatchewan health officials warn province nearing ICU capacity – Nov 26, 2020

In the prairies, Saskatchewan reported 315 new cases, with 108 currently in hospital and 18 of them in intensive care.

The province also reported three additional deaths, bringing its total to 40.

Manitoba reported 383 new cases and 10 new deaths, bringing its total deaths to 266.

The province currently has a record-setting 307 in hospital due to the virus, with 46 in intensive care.

Read more: Manitoba sees 10 new coronavirus deaths, 383 new cases reported Thursday

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Manitoba leads all other provinces in per-capita rate of new infections.

The Yukon reported three new cases as no new cases were announced in the rest of the territories.

There have been 60,856,294 cases of coronavirus worldwide to date and 1,429,689 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

— With files from Global staff