Canada added 4,253 more COVID-19 cases today as the country stopped just short of hitting another grim milestone amid the pandemic.
As of Saturday evening, Canada’s coronavirus death toll stood at 19,942 after another 148 fatalities were announced, with the country set to pass the 20,000 mark Sunday.
Saturday’s data brings the country’s total caseload to 774,722, of which 700,924 have recovered. In total, over 21,973,000 tests and 952,212 vaccines have also been administered.
The new cases came amid further warnings from the country’s top doctor, who urged against easing the strict provincial health measures put in place over the holidays to ease the spread of the virus.
In a statement Saturday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the country’s trend in cases could quickly reverse due to “elevated daily case counts and high rates of infection” in all age groups.
“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,” Tam’s statement read.
“These factors underscore the importance of sustaining public health measures and individual practices and not easing restrictions too fast or too soon. This is particularly important in light of the emergence of new virus variants of concern that could rapidly accelerate transmission of COVID-19 in Canada.”
Tam’s warning comes as the premier of the province hit the hardest by the pandemic, Quebec, hoped to ease such restrictions in just over a week. One strain, first detected in the U.K., was identified as the cause of a deadly outbreak at long-term care home in Ontario.
Several provinces and territories did not release new COVID-19 data on Saturday, however, painting a limited snapshot of the virus’ spread across the country.
Ontario added another 2,063 cases on Saturday, as well as 73 more deaths.
In Quebec, another 46 fatalities were announced. To date, the province has recorded the highest death toll among all regions in Canada, with a total of 9,763. Another 1,367 infections were reported in the province as well.
Saskatchewan added another 260 cases and eight deaths, while Manitoba reported another 166 infections and two new fatalities on Saturday.
Alberta’s case total numbered at 123,747 Saturday after another 383 infections were announced. Eleven more deaths were also recorded in the province.
In Atlantic Canada, several provinces also reported new infections. Nova Scotia added three more cases on Saturday, while New Brunswick reported 12 infections, as well as one more death.
Newfoundland and Labrador did not add any new cases while Nunavut reported just one.
To date, cases of the novel coronavirus continue to increase across the world, with a total of 102,505,074 infections according to Johns Hopkins University. The death toll from the disease now stands at 2,217,579 globally, with the U.S., Brazil and India continuing to lead in both cases and fatalities.