The seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in Canada has dropped below 1,000 for the first time since last September, as many provinces posted new lows in their daily counts and others saw none at all.
The 612 new cases reported Monday, along with 769 on Sunday and 974 on Saturday, brought the average down to 906.3 infections per day. On Sunday, the average was at 964, marking the first day below four digits since Sept. 20, 2020.
Another 11 deaths were also reported. The average number of deaths has fallen to 20.7 per day from 51 less than two months ago.
None of the Maritime provinces reported any new cases or deaths on Monday. The last time all three provinces’ totals stayed steady was Oct. 1 of last year.
Other provinces like British Columbia and Quebec saw their daily counts fall to August 2020 levels, further contributing to Monday’s low number.
The falling national average comes two days after Canada surpassed its initial vaccination targets to have 75 per cent of eligible Canadians aged 12 and over inoculated with at least one dose, and 20 per cent with both required shots.
The latter number has since grown to over 22 per cent as of Monday, according to the COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.
Health officials are urging Canadians to keep going, however, as concern grows over the highly transmissible Delta variant. The variant has been detected in every province and one territory so far.
Partially-vaccinated people remain vulnerable to Delta, which has been proven to be more resilient than the initial strain of the novel coronavirus. But two doses are highly effective and still provide nearly 90 per cent immunity against the stronger variant, according to recent data.
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Provinces have worked to expand eligibility for second doses and shortened the interval period between shots. That work has been even more aggressive in parts of Ontario, where Delta has sparked infection hot spots that have delayed reopening plans.
The country is expected to have received a total of 68 million doses by the end of July — more than enough to inoculate every eligible Canadian with the required two doses.
The federal government has said Pfizer’s weekly shipment of 2.4 million doses is delayed and will arrive mid-week. That left provinces switching Pfizer appointments for Moderna, and urging people not to cancel their jabs.
Officials and experts have stressed that the vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna — both of which are mRNA shots — are interchangeable, with no adverse side effects apparent in those who have made the switch.
The country is still administering 1.2 doses for every 100 people daily as of Sunday, which is one of the five fastest rates in the world.
British Columbia reported three days of new case counts below 100, including just 45 on Monday. Three people have also died since Friday.
The Prairies also saw double-digit totals. There were 60 new cases and two more deaths in Alberta, 48 cases and two deaths in Saskatchewan, and 74 infections with one more death in Manitoba.
In Ontario, officials reported 270 new cases — the lowest increase since mid-September — and three new deaths. Quebec, meanwhile, did not see any new deaths since Sunday and reported just 90 new infections.
Newfoundland and Labrador did not report any COVID-19 data on Monday due to the provincial holiday.
While Nunavut and the Northwest Territories did not see any new cases, Yukon said it has confirmed 30 new infections since Saturday, bringing its active case count to 100. The territory’s outbreak is being fuelled by the Gamma variant first reported in Brazil.
To date, Canada has seen 1,409,632 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since early 2020. Of those cases, at least 26,087 people have died and 1,372,505 are considered recovered.
The pandemic has led to at least 178.6 million confirmed cases around the world, with 3.87 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.