Canada stopped just short of surpassing a total of 800,000 COVID-19 cases Friday, after the country reported an increase of 4,022 new infections.
The data, compiled by health jurisdictions across the country, has now placed the country’s total caseload from the virus at 797,760, while another 96 deaths pushed Canada’s overall death toll from COVID-19 to 20,609.
More than 730,000 patients infected with the disease have now recovered, while more than 2.26 million tests and 1,042,776 vaccine doses have been administered.
Despite the expected passing of the 800,000 threshold in cases this weekend, the country’s top doctor said that new and active case counts have declined rapidly over the past few weeks, but still urged caution as the rates of infectivity in the hardest-hit spots in Canada remained high.
According to Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam, many provinces reported an over 15 per cent decline in case counts and the average daily number of people being treated in hospital over COVID-19 lowered by over 10 per cent over the past week. Over the last two weeks, the average active national case count also declined by 30 per cent.
“Likewise, even with the steady two week decline, case counts are still about double what they were at the peak of the first wave so easing of restrictions will need to be done gradually and cautiously. As well, there is continuing concern in Canada and internationally around more transmissible virus variants,” said Tam in as statement Friday.
Tam’s statement came amid increased worries over the country’s delays in vaccine deliveries, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau telling Canadians on Friday that short-term setbacks were a possibility and that the government had planned accordingly.
Deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have slowed over a production ramp up at a facility in Belgium, while new shipments of the Moderna vaccine were expected to be 50,000 doses less than expected due to production delays.
Trudeau said, however, that the despite the setbacks, the heads of those vaccine developers “assured” him that they would meet the contractual obligation of 6 million doses by the end of March.
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Ontario reported the highest number of new cases on Friday, with an additional 1,670 COVID-19 infections. Another 45 deaths were reported by the province as well.
Quebec added another 1,1101 infections and 33 deaths on Friday, with province’s fatalities now standing at 9,973. The death toll there, which is the highest in Canada, is expected to surpass 10,000 this weekend.
B.C. added another 471 cases on Friday as well, of which four were considered “epi-linked” — infections that were never tested but had symptoms of COVID-19 and were in close contact with those who tested positive. Another six deaths were also reported by the province.
Alberta added nine more COVID-19 deaths on Friday, as well as 396 cases. Infections and deaths from the virus there now total at 126,068 and 1,693, respectively.
Saskatchewan added another 269 cases and three deaths, while Manitoba reported 110 more infections and one new death on Friday.
In Atlantic Canada, several provinces reported new cases during their updates Friday.
New Brunswick added seven new cases, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported just one. Neither Nova Scotia nor P.E.I. reported any new cases during their updates on Friday.
None of the territories reported any new cases of the virus on Friday, either.
To date, a total of 105,334,000 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 2.29 million people have since died from the virus as well, with the U.S., India and Brazil continuing to lead in both infections and deaths.
— With files from the Canadian Press