Canada’s chief public health officer said Saturday that “we have a window of opportunity to act” before the COVID-19 pandemic worsens in the country.
Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement that the rise in coronavirus cases across Canada is “troubling,” but she noted that “all jurisdictions” are implementing public health measures to tamp down the spread.
“We are all in this together, and impacts will affect all our well-being, which is why we are being called upon to take action to reduce the spread of the virus,” Tam said.
“If we continue on the current pace, our longer-range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December.”
1/2 To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 11,262,041 people for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>, w\ an average ~3.1% positive overall, for a rate of 299,608 people tested per million population in Canada. <a href=”https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo”>https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo</a>
Tam’s statement comes a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a majority of Canadians could be inoculated against COVID-19 by September 2021 “if all goes according to plan.”
Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said as many as six million doses could be deployed in the first three months of 2021.
Each patient will need two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, which Health Canada says could win approval next month because its review is in the most advanced stage out of the three leading candidates.
Federal officials warned that any timelines are uncertain and emphasized that no vaccine has been approved for use in Canada.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 364,810, with 62,134 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 11,976.
Alberta saw a record 1,731 new cases on Saturday, along with nine more deaths.
Saskatchewan reported 197 new COVID-19 cases and that a person in their 80’s has died.
The province also noted a number of recent outbreaks and exposures, including one involving a teenage hockey team that resulted in nine players and one coach testing positive. Multiple teams are currently self-isolating as a result.
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In Manitoba, a boy under the age of 10 is among 10 more deaths linked to COVID-19 announced by the province on Saturday. The boy, in the Winnipeg health region, is the youngest person in the province to die from the illness.
There are also 487 new cases, the province said in a news release.
Ontario added another 1,822 cases of COVID-19 to its total on Saturday, a day after recording its highest single-day count of 1,855.
The province also reported 29 new deaths.
Quebec reported a single-day record of 1,480 new cases, along with 37 more deaths. The new fatalities pushed the province’s death toll past 7,000.
New Brunswick reported four new cases, down from 12 new cases reported Friday.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported two new cases.
Nova Scotia saw its caseload rise by 14.
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Prince Edward Island confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in a school, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced Saturday. The case — one of two announced Saturday — is a male student at Charlottetown Rural High School.
Yukon reported three new cases in Whitehorse and issued a series of public exposure notices around the capital. The territory said two of the cases are linked to a previously known case in Whitehorse, and the other is linked to travel outside of the territory.
In Nunavut, five more cases were reported in the hard-hit community of Arviat.
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday, there were more than 61.7 million cases of COVID-19 recorded worldwide, with more than 39.5 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to a coronavirus tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The global death toll stood at more than 1.4 million.
In Europe, Greek authorities announced a record 121 deaths from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours on Saturday. The country is under lockdown until Dec. 7, but government officials have strongly hinted that restrictions could be extended. Officials also said that the ban on travel inside the country will stay in effect during the holiday season.
In Asia, South Korea has reported more than 500 new coronavirus cases for the third straight day, the speed of viral spread unseen since the worst wave of the outbreak in the spring. About 330 of the 504 new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where health workers are struggling to stem transmissions linked to hospitals, schools, saunas, gyms and army units.
In the Americas, the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States reached 205,557 on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — the first time its daily figure topped the 200,000 mark. Its previous daily high was 196,000 on Nov. 20. The total number of reported cases in the U.S., since the first one was registered in January, has topped 13 million.
In Africa, mass vaccination against COVID-19 is unlikely to start on the continent until midway through next year, and keeping vaccines cold could be a big challenge, said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Nkengasong worries that Africa will find itself near the back of the queue, behind wealthier nations, and that logistical problems — such as hot temperatures and electricity shortages — will encumber storage.
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