Canada reported 6,415 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, as provinces continued to receive and administer doses of a vaccine against the virus.
Health authorities in the country’s provinces also reported 140 new deaths.
The new cases and deaths come as initial doses of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine continue to be delivered and administered in Canada’s provinces.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Maj-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading the charge on Canada’s distribution plans, said the country is also preparing a “dry run” for the delivery of a vaccine from American biotechnology company Moderna.
Fortin told reporters the rollout practice was similar to the one performed last week by the Canadian government for the Pfizer and BioNtech vaccine, which involved confirming vaccine orders, and testing shipping, tracking, delivery and storage.
According to Fortin, this will make it easier to deliver Moderna’s vaccines to locations identified by the provinces and territories so they can be rolled out quickly once approved by regulators.
Fortin said Canada is “taking deliberate steps to ensure the safe and efficient distribution of the Moderna vaccine across the country.”
Canada’s territories are waiting with bated breath for Health Canada to approve the Moderna candidate, as stringent shipping and storing requirements have prevented them from receiving doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
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Thousands of new cases in the provinces
Ontario reported 2,139 new infections and 43 more deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases and fatalities in the province to 146,535 and 4,035, respectively.
Quebec, meanwhile, saw 1,897 new cases and 42 more deaths.
To date, the province has reported 169,173 COVID-19 infections and 7,613 have died after testing positive for the virus.
In Atlantic Canada, 17 new cases of the virus were detected.
New Brunswick added eight new cases, Newfoundland and Labrador added five new infections while health officials in Nova Scotia said four new cases have been identified.
The provinces have now seen 567, 364 and 1,430 cases respectively
Prince Edward Island did not report any new COVID-19 data on Wednesday, but the latest numbers released on Tuesday said the province has seen 89 confirmed cases.
None of the Maritime provinces, or Newfoundland and Labrador reported any new fatalities on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan added 162 new cases for a total of 12,594, while Manitoba reported 291 new infections, bringing the province’s total case load to 21,826.
Manitoba health officials said 15 more people have died after testing positive for COVID-19, pushing the total number of fatalities to 523.
Saskatchewan’s death toll remained at 98.
In western Canada, nearly 2,000 new cases were reported.
Health authorities in Alberta said 1,270 new cases have been identified, bringing the total number of infections in the province to 84,597.
Another 16 people have also died after falling ill, officials said.
Since the pandemic began, Alberta has seen 760 fatalities related to COVID-19.
British Columbia added 639 new cases and health officials said 24 more people have died.
So far, B.C. has seen 43,708 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, while the new fatalities push the province’s death toll to 692.
Officials in B.C. also reported one new epidemiologically-linked case, meaning it has not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.
New cases in the territories
None of Canada’s territories reported any new cases of the virus on Wednesday.
Twenty-two cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Northwest Territories to date, while the Yukon has reported 59 infections.
Nunavut, the territory hardest-hit by the pandemic, has seen 258 cases of the virus so far.
By 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, a total of 74,115,894, people had been infected with the virus, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.