Cases of COVID-19 in Canada have now surpassed 700,000, according to a Global News tally updated with the latest data from health officials.
The milestone came after Ontario reported another 3,056 cases Saturday. To date, a total of 702,183 infections have been detected in Canada, with both Ontario and Quebec recording the highest caseloads.
A total of 17,865 deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been recorded in Canada as well, after 136 more fatalities were announced Saturday. Over 608,000 patients have since recovered and at least 20,366,000 tests have been administered.
Cases of the virus continue to surge in communities across the country, with officials attributing the large number of social contacts Canadians had during the holidays.
The most recent modelling of the virus’ spread — presented by public health authorities Friday — showed that Canada was on its way to surpassing 10,000 new cases of the virus per day by February.
According to Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, current measures would have to be “further intensified” in order to slow down the spread of the virus.
“If we ease measures too soon the epidemic will resurge even more strongly,” Tam said in a press conference Friday.
The modelling also found cases of the virus could potentially surge past 30,000 per day if Canadians increase their contact with each other by February.
Federal officials also revealed on Friday that shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the country would be delayed for four weeks due to production issues.
According to Procurement Minister Anita Anand, only half of Pfizer’s promised vaccine doses would arrive in the next month because of the delay.
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“This expansion work means that Pfizer is temporarily reducing deliveries to all countries receiving vaccine manufactured at its European facility — and that includes Canada,” Anand said.
Both Anand and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also reassured Canadians would not impact the country’s long term vaccination plan, and that they would still have enough vaccines available by September for any Canadian who wanted to be inoculated.
In a tweet Saturday, Anand said that shipments of the Pfizer vaccine next week would be “largely unaffected” by the delay.
“We are once again in touch with representatives from Pfizer to reiterate firmly the importance for Canada to return to our regular delivery schedule as soon as possible,” wrote Anand.
“Pfizer assured us that it is deploying all efforts to do just that. This is an evolving situation.”
News of the delay raised concern from several provincial officials as a second shot of the vaccine would have to be administered 21 days after the first for it to achieve maximum efficacy.
On Saturday, Ontario became the latest province to adjust its vaccination rollout plan due to the delay.
The province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said in a statement that the second vaccine dose was going to be delayed for up to 42 days, but that long-term care residents and essential caregivers who already received their first dose would receive their second within 21 to 27 days.
Moderna’s vaccine schedule on the other hand will remain unchanged, with federal officials telling Global News that Canada received 171,000 doses of that vaccine this week and another 230,400 doses in the first week of February.
Cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in communities across Canada after the country added a total of 6,476 new infections Saturday. Today’s increase in cases paints a limited snapshot of the virus’ spread across the country however, after several provinces like B.C., P.E.I. and all the territories do not report new data over the weekend.
Ontario recorded another 51 deaths from the virus Saturday on top of it’s case count, with the new data placing the province’s death toll at 5,340.
Quebec added the second highest with 2,225 new infections, raising its total caseload to 240,970. Another 67 deaths were announced there too, pushing the province’s fatalities past the 9,000-mark.
Alberta reported another 717 cases and 15 more deaths Saturday. Saskatchewan reported another 270 cases, while Manitoba added 177.
In Atlantic Canada, 27 cases were reported in New Brunswick and another four in Nova Scotia. Newfoundland and Labrador did not add new cases of the virus in its update Saturday.
As of Jan.14, at least 765,100 doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed across Canada.
Cases of the virus continue to spread worldwide, with a total of 94,465,000 infections diagnosed to date according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 2,021,700 people have since died after contracting the virus, with the U.S., India and Brazil leading in both cases and deaths.
— With files from Global News’ Katie Dangerfield and Rachel Gilmore.