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Canada sees 6,415 new coronavirus cases, 140 new deaths as vaccine rollout continues

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canada taking steps to ensure ‘safe and efficient’ distribution of Moderna vaccine once approved' Coronavirus: Canada taking steps to ensure ‘safe and efficient’ distribution of Moderna vaccine once approved
WATCH: Canada taking steps to ensure ‘safe and efficient' distribution of Moderna vaccine once approved – Dec 16, 2020

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.

To date, Canada has seen 481,235 infections and 13,799 fatalities related to COVID-19.
However, 391,946 people have recovered after contracting the respiratory illness, while 16,716,767 tests have been administered.
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Read more: What’s in Pfizer’s vaccine? A look at the ingredients

The new cases and deaths come as initial doses of the PfizerBioNTech 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.

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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.

Click to play video 'What about teachers and front-line workers? Hinshaw addresses priority list for COVID-19 vaccination in Alberta' What about teachers and front-line workers? Hinshaw addresses priority list for COVID-19 vaccination in Alberta
What about teachers and front-line workers? Hinshaw addresses priority list for COVID-19 vaccination in Alberta – Dec 16, 2020

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.

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Read more: Coronavirus: Wear a face mask at holiday gatherings even if it’s ‘awkward,’ WHO says

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.

Click to play video 'Manitoba’s first vaccine doses' Manitoba’s first vaccine doses
Manitoba’s first vaccine doses – Dec 16, 2020

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. 

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Another 16 people have also died after falling ill, officials said.

Since the pandemic began, Alberta has seen 760 fatalities related to COVID-19.

Read more: ‘Tremendous cost’: Coronavirus hospitalizations soar as vaccine raises hope

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.

Global cases

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. 

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Click to play video 'First COVID-19 vaccine distributed in Nova Scotia' First COVID-19 vaccine distributed in Nova Scotia
First COVID-19 vaccine distributed in Nova Scotia – Dec 16, 2020
Since the pandemic began, 1,646,942 have died around the world after contracting the virus.
The United States remains the viral epicentre, with over 16.9 million cases and 307,076 fatalities related to the virus.
-With files from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun