Canada added roughly 8,400 new coronavirus cases on Thursday to end 2020, as both Ontario and Quebec broke single-day case records.
The staggering total comes after Alberta’s announcement of “about 1,200 new cases” on Thursday. New lab-confirmed cases in the country totals at exactly 7,211, but shoots up to a record-breaking 8,400 after factoring Alberta’s announcement.
The country now has over 579,000 cases in total and at least 15,605 deaths after adding 133 more fatalities from COVID-19. More than 489,000 people have since recovered from the virus, while over 18.4 million tests have been administered to date, without counting Alberta’s data.
The year is also ending with new travel rules set to come in place in the next few days that require all incoming travellers to Canada to have received a negative COVID-19 test result in the last 72 hours.
According to a statement, any new arrivals would need to show a negative COVID-19 test to their airline before boarding, and would have to accept quarantine in a facility if officials aren’t satisfied with their plan complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a statement, however, that the new procedure was not meant to be a replacement for the quarantine.
“As the global situation evolves, we continue to work with our partners to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 into Canada at all international ports of entry,” said Hadju.
Canada’s chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, said she is deeply concerned Canadians are still travelling for non-essential reasons, ignoring advice not to do so.
“I am asking Canadians to reassess any travel plans,” she said.
Her statement comes as Ontario’s minister of finance, Rod Phillips, resigned Thursday after returning from a vacation in the Caribbean, a decision that went against the province’s advice to avoid non-essential travel and one he said he regrets.
Ontario added 3,328 cases Thursday, setting a new single-day record for the province, besting Wednesday’s total of 2,923 cases.
The province also announced 56 more deaths from the virus. There are currently 1,235 people in hospital with the virus, the most since the pandemic began, with 337 of them in intensive care.
Quebec passed 200,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday after adding 2,819 cases for the day — a single-day record for the province.
The province also reported 62 more deaths, 22 of which occurred in the last 24 hours. There are currently 1,175 hospitalizations in the province, 165 of them in intensive care.
Out east, New Brunswick reported its ninth death from the virus, an individual in their 40s, and three more cases. The province currently has 28 active cases.
Nova Scotia announced three new cases on Thursday and said that restaurants and licensed establishments can re-open for dine-in services next week after being closed since mid-November.
The province currently has 22 active cases and received its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine Thursday, a day after New Brunswick.
Meanwhile, two Canadian Coast Guard vessels have been put under lockdown near the coast of Dartmouth, N.S., after they were exposed to a COVID-19 positive contractor. Testing of the crew has begun on both vessels.
Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. did not report any more cases or deaths.
Manitoba reported 187 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and six deaths. The province currently has 337 hospitalizations related to the virus and 4,505 active cases.
Saskatchewan added 190 new cases Thursday and one more death but noted its active cases are lowering. There are now 2,699 active cases in the province, the lowest amount since Nov. 22. There are currently 142 people in hospital.
Alberta reported an estimated 1,200 cases, with 921 people currently in hospital, 152 of whom are in ICU.
British Columbia reported 681 more lab-confirmed cases and eight more deaths Thursday as well, which pushed its caseload and fatalities to 51,524 and 901, respectively.
None of the territories released new data Thursday, but the Northwest Territories did begin its rollout of its first doses of the Moderna vaccine.
There are currently 83,192,664 coronavirus cases around the world and 1,813,229 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
— With files from Global Staff and the Canadian Press