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Canada surpasses 360K coronavirus cases as Quebec, Alberta break daily infection records

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canadians moving away from idea of mandatory vaccine says Ipsos poll' Coronavirus: Canadians moving away from idea of mandatory vaccine says Ipsos poll
Coronavirus: Canadians moving away from idea of mandatory vaccine, says Ipsos poll – Nov 28, 2020

Canada added 5,757 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, as well as 82 more deaths.

The country’s total confirmed cases of COVID-19 now stands at 364,501, though 290,693 of those patients have since recovered. A total of 11,976 have died from the virus in Canada, while over 14,407,000 tests have been administered.

Read more: Support for mandatory coronavirus vaccine keeps falling even as cases spike: Ipsos

Saturday’s data paints a limited snapshot of the virus’ spread across Canada however, as British Columbia and both the Yukon and Northwest Territories do not release updated COVID-19 testing data on the weekend.

As new cases of the virus surge in communities across the country, new Ipsos polling released Saturday suggested Canadians were also moving away from the idea of mandatory vaccinations.

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According to the poll, 59 per cent of Canadians agreed that COVID-19 vaccinations should be compulsory — a decrease of 13 points since July.

CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs Darrell Bricker has since told Global News that the drop over the last several months was due to a number of reasons which include the perception of the vaccine being rushed as well as its potential side effects.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Support for mandatory vaccines weakens among Canadians' Coronavirus: Support for mandatory vaccines weakens among Canadians
Coronavirus: Support for mandatory vaccines weakens among Canadians – Nov 28, 2020

It’s a sentiment that was also shared by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who told Albertans that coronavirus vaccines would not be mandatory during a live question-and-answer period he hosted earlier this week.

“COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory, not in Alberta,” he said. “In fact, our government will amending the Public Health Act early next year, when the legislature comes back. We’ll be making a number of amendments to the Public Health Act.”

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In a statement Saturday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam reaffirmed earlier projections of the country being on track to hit as many as 10,000 new cases a day by mid-December.

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According to Tam, the most recent seven-day average count of new COVID-19 cases stood at 5,335 between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26, with more and larger outbreaks occurring at long term care homes, hospitals and Indigenous communities in remote areas of the country.

Read more: Why are they still sick? The search for answers inside Canada’s first post-COVID clinic

“These developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” said Tam.

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Tam also said new cases were increasing among adults, with those aged 80 years and older now having the highest incident rate across the country. Canada is averaging 76 deaths a day, while more than 2,100 people have been admitted to hospital due to the virus — 432 of which have been placed in ICU.

“If we continue on the current pace, our longer range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December,” said Tam.

“Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory.”

Click to play video 'Planning the COVID-19 vaccine rollout' Planning the COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Planning the COVID-19 vaccine rollout – Nov 28, 2020

The grim warning from the country’s top doctor comes amid surges of newly reported cases being identified across the country.

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Quebec reported its highest ever single-day record of new infections Saturday with 1,480 more lab-confirmed cases, bringing its total COVID-19 caseload to 139,643. Deaths from the virus also crossed the 7,000 threshold after the province reported 37 additional fatalities, of which 10 occurred over the past 24 hours.

Alberta added another record daily high of 1,731 new virus cases Saturday, as well as five new deaths. The data pushes the province’s cases to 54,836 and its death toll to 524.

In Ontario, new cases of the virus dipped just below the single-day record that was set Friday with 1,822 new infections. Another 29 deaths were reported by the province, pushing its COVID-19 fatalities to 3,624.

Manitoba also reported a sharp increase in cases after health authorities added 487 new infections and 10 deaths. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan announced 197 more cases as well as one new death from the virus. Caseloads in both province now stand at 16,118 and 7,888, respectively.

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One of Manitoba’s new deaths was also attributed to a boy under the age of 10 — the province’s youngest fatality to date.

All provinces in Atlantic Canada reported new cases on Saturday as well, with Nova Scotia adding 28, New Brunswick announcing four and both P.E.I. and N.L. reporting two additional cases.

Nunavut also announced five more cases from the virus, raising its provincial case total to 164.

New cases of the coronavirus continue to grow worldwide after countries reported a total of 62,065,000 infections, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Over 1,449,000 deaths attributed to the virus have also been recorded, with the United States, Brazil and India continuing to lead in both cases and deaths globally.