Canada’s cases of the novel coronavirus floated at just under 500,000 Friday after the country reported an increase of 6,702 new cases.
The numbers follow a continuing surge in cases, deaths and hospitalizations, all of which have been increasing at an alarming rate. Health authorities have also marked another 124 deaths, which pushed the country’s death toll past 14,000.
To date, a total of 494,941 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Canada, of whom 405,611 have recovered. Over 17 million tests have also been administered.
Friday’s total caseload followed a record breaking 7,002 new cases that were identified a day earlier. Thursday’s case increase, which clocked in at over 7,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, came as Ontario posted 2,432 new infections.
The alarming increase has pushed the provincial government to announce an extension of a lockdown on two of its COVID-19 hotspots, with Premier Doug Ford expected to announce a set of new restrictions come Monday.
Ontario’s unrelenting surge comes amid a myriad of announcements made Friday from other officials and public health authorities in Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also confirmed Friday that Canada was going to receive 500,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine ahead of schedule by the end of January. According to Trudeau, 125,000 doses were expected to arrive every week over that first month of 2021.
In a separate press conference, Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine were expected to also arrive in Canada by the end of March — enough to vaccinate a total of two million people.
To date, Canada has already invested over $1 billion into procuring about 429 million doses from several vaccine manufacturers. The country’s first shipment of 30,000 Pfizer vaccines arrived earlier this week, with provincial health authorities already beginning to vaccinate high priority groups across the country.
In a statement Friday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said that the average daily national case count stands at 6,650 over the last seven days, with high rates of infection continuing in many areas across the country.
Ontario added the highest number of new cases Friday as the only province with over 2,000 new cases. Health authorities said the province’s total caseload now stood at 151,257 after 2,290 more cases were announced. Another 40 deaths were reported in the province as well.
Alberta recorded over 1,400 new cases Friday and 45 more deaths, while B.C. clocked in another 620 lab-confirmed infections and 11 fatalities. Caseloads in both provinces now stand at 87,581 and 44,995, respectively.
Quebec added 1,773 more cases on Friday. Another 35 deaths were also announced by the province, though only five had occurred in the past 24 hours.
Saskatchewan reported another 245 cases Friday, raising its total cases to over 13,000. Manitoba added 350 more cases on Friday as well.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported an increase of seven cases while Newfoundland and Labrador added another five. New Brunswick did not report any new cases Friday, while P.E.I. did not release new data.
The Northwest Territories was the only territory to report a new case of the virus Friday, with one more infection.
Cases of the novel coronavirus continue to increase worldwide, with over 75,000,000 infections identified to date according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 1.67 million people have since succumbed to the virus, with the U.S., Brazil and India leading in both cases and fatalities.