Canada tops world in vaccinated population as new COVID-19 cases fall below 1,000

WATCH: COVID-19 vaccine campaign slowdown coming in Canada, experts warn

Just over two months after posting a record of over 9,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day, Canada’s daily case count has shrunk by 90 per cent.

The achievement comes as the country leads the world in the share of national populations vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, with close to 65 per cent of Canadians now having received at least one dose.

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Monday’s 945 new infections marked the first time daily cases were under 1,000 since Sept. 20 of last year.

Updated data from the weekend also showed cases remained low on Saturday and Sunday, with provinces and territories reporting 1,384 and 1,238 new cases, respectively.

The seven-day average for new cases now sits at 1,305, according to a Global News analysis of nationwide data — the lowest average since Sept. 27, 2020.

Cases have continued to steadily drop from the peak of the third wave in April, when over 8,700 new infections were being reported daily on average.

Although slightly fewer tests are being performed daily in many provinces and territories compared to the spring, a Global News analysis found daily testing rates are comparable to those seen in the early winter — suggesting fewer tests are being returned positive.

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That’s also been true week-to-week between May and June, according to Canada’s chief medical health officer. In a statement Monday, Dr. Theresa Tam said 2.8 per cent of all tests performed between May 30 and June 5 were positive, compared to 3.8 per cent of roughly the same number of tests completed the week prior.

Tam said the latest data prior to the weekend shows a 21-per cent decline in both hospitalizations and intensive care patients over the past week, along with a seven per cent drop in the average number of deaths reported daily.

Just over 1,300 Canadians are in hospital with COVID-19 symptoms as of Monday, which saw 13 more deaths reported across the country.

The plummeting numbers come as Canada’s vaccination rate remains on an upswing. More than 400,000 doses are being administered daily, according to the COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker — a rate of 1.11 doses for every 100 Canadians.

The share of Canada’s population with at least one dose in their arms is higher than any other country, according to Our World in Data.

That’s despite only 12.9 per cent of the population having received both required doses, which pales in comparison to many other countries including the United States, China and much of Europe.

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In her statement, Tam urged Canadians to get that second dose when eligible, reminding that two doses offers better protection against more transmissible variants of the coronavirus like the fast-spreading Delta variant “and may make immunity last longer.”

“However, regardless of our vaccination status while COVID-19 is still circulating, it is important to remain vigilant, continue following local public health advice, and consistently maintain individual practices that keep us and our families safer,” she added.

Numbers plummet across country

Many provinces reported daily case numbers not seen since last fall, as officials continued to weigh further steps in their reopening plans.

Ontario — which reported 447 new infections and four more deaths — said Monday it will accelerate return-to-play plans for professional and amateur sports leagues, with games to return by August.

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The province also said it will reopen its borders with Quebec and Manitoba on Wednesday.

Quebec on Monday lowered its pandemic alert for many regions, including Montreal and Quebec City, allowing limited indoor gatherings to resume and crowd limits to increase at funerals, weddings and religious services. Another 123 new cases and one more death were also reported.

Atlantic Canada saw a combined 13 new cases — eight in Nova Scotia, four in Newfoundland and Labrador, and one in New Brunswick — while Nova Scotia announced its 90th death since the pandemic began.

The region is awaiting vaccination targets to be reached in New Brunswick, where travel restrictions will be lifted for other Atlantic provinces once 75 per cent of residents have received at least one dose. As of Monday, the province is 1,345 people short of that goal.

Manitoba reported 124 new cases and two more deaths Monday, but the strain on the province’s health-care system remains high.

Although the number of hospitalizations has dropped below 200 for the first time since mid-May, officials say they are still waiting for capacity to ease before lifting any more restrictions.

Saskatchewan, which reported 55 new cases and one more death, is also just shy of its vaccination benchmark of 70 per cent. The government says more restrictions will be lifted three weeks after that goal is met.

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In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney announced a $1-million lottery to encourage more people in that province to get vaccinated. He said 48,000 more doses need to be administered before nearly all health rules can be lifted following a two-week waiting period.

The province reported 115 new cases and one more death on Monday.

Health restrictions will be eased on indoor gatherings, group activities and travel within British Columbia on Tuesday as COVID-19 immunization rates rise and case counts decline, Premier John Horgan said Monday.

Officials said a total of 277 new cases and four deaths were confirmed since Friday, including just 68 new cases on Monday.

None of the northern territories reported any new infections of deaths on Monday.

To date, Canada has seen a total of 1,403,285 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, 25,944 people have died and 1,361,387 have recovered.

Globally, the novel coronavirus pandemic has infected at least 176.1 million people and killed over 3.8 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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