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Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have now surpassed 18,000

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WATCH: Coronavirus: The Canadian doctors who are providing answers about COVID-19 – Jan 16, 2021

Canada registered another grim milestone in its fight against the novel coronavirus Sunday evening after the country’s death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 18,000.

Canadian health officials reported 6,433 new infections of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, pushing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 708,616. Another 149 people had died after testing positive for the virus in Canada on Sunday, pushing the total past the 18,000-mark.

So far, 615,324 people have recovered from COVID-19 and health authorities have administered 570,742 vaccine doses to protect from the virus. More than 20,484,800 tests for the respiratory illness have been administered to date.

Read more: 64% of Canadians in favour of mandatory coronavirus vaccines: poll

New cases of the virus continue to surge in communities across the country. In a statement Sunday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that the current momentum of the epidemic and continued high rates of infections would continue to create a “rapid accumulation” of cases until the country could significantly interrupt its spread.

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According to Tam, the latest national daily averages in new cases showed that the virus was spreading with high infection rates across all age groups, and that infection rates remained highest among those aged 80 years and older who are the most vulnerable to a severe outcome.

“Likewise, outbreaks continue to occur in high-risk populations and communities, including hospitals and long term care homes, correctional facilities, congregate living settings, Indigenous communities, and more remote areas of the country.”

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Coronavirus: Over half of Canadians think vaccine should be mandatory, Ipsos poll shows – Jan 16, 2021

In Quebec, the province hit hardest by COVID-19, health authorities recorded 1,744 new cases of the virus and 50 deaths.

So far, 242,714 people have tested positive for the virus while 9,055 people have died after falling ill.

The numbers come several days after the province’s 8 p.m. curfew went into effect. The curfew will be in place for the next four weeks as Quebec works to quell its surging case numbers.

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Read more: Canada’s cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 700K

On Saturday, a group of protesters gathered to denounce the provincial curfew, arguing it creates a “climate of fear” among residents.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Ontario said 3,422 more people had tested positive for the virus, pushing the provincial tally to 237,786.

They said 69 more people had died, for a total of 5,409.

The news comes as the province extends its window for Canadians receiving their second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from the recommended 21 days to up to 42 days to compensate for shipping delays.

“Vaccination of residents, staff and essential caregivers of all long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes in Ontario will continue, with the goal of having the first dose administered in all homes no later than mid-February,” the provincial government said in an earlier release.

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“In the meantime, we are working to expand the number of vaccination sites to prepare for the demand for vaccination during Phase Two.”

In Manitoba, 189 more infections were reported by health officials, as well as eight more deaths. To date, the province has seen 27,511 confirmed cases of the virus and 769 people have died.

Alberta saw another 750 cases on Sunday, as well as another 19 deaths. Saskatchewan found another 287 cases on Sunday as well as another three deaths.

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Several provinces in Atlantic Canada recorded new cases on Sunday as well.

New Brunswick reported another 36 cases, Nova scotia four more and Newfoundland and Labrador just one additional infection.

Worldwide, cases of the virus continue to increase rapidly with a total of 94,826,490 people having been diagnosed with the virus to date, according to Johns Hopkins University. Another 2,027,419 people have since died from COVID-19, with the U.S., Brazil and India leading in both cases and deaths.

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