Canada’s chief public health officer is warning a “stronger response is needed immediately” to combat COVID-19 as a number of provinces reported record single-day increases in new cases
“Given the recent developments, there is an urgent need for everyone to take individual actions to not only protect ourselves but also our populations and communities at high risk,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement on Saturday.
Tam said federal modelling showed Canada could see 20,000 cases a day by the end of December if the spread of coronavirus is not tamped down.
“To do this, we need to limit close contacts to those in your immediate household and reduce in-person interactions to only essential errands and activities, while consistently maintaining key public health practices,” she said.
2/4 Both short & longer range models forecast a worrying trajectory of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a> rapid growth in 🇨🇦. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PHAC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PHAC</a> short-term models forecast we could reach 366,500 to 378,000 cases & 11,870 to 12,120 deaths by November 30th.<a href=”https://t.co/PYalP6ooCW”>https://t.co/PYalP6ooCW</a>
Tam’s statement comes as multiple provinces report single-day records for new coronavirus cases. Among them is New Brunswick, which announced 23 new cases on Saturday.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer, said New Brunswickers are facing a situation that can quickly turn “serious” without immediate action.
“We need a renewed commitment to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we need it now,” she said.
Premier Blaine Higgs indicated the entire province could move to orange-level restrictions if the rise in cases continues. He said the current increase is a “reality check” that the virus exists in the province.
“We are now in our own bubble in New Brunswick,” he said. “And that bubble is about to burst.”
WATCH | N.B bubble is about to burst, says premier:
Ontario also reported a singe-day record for new cases, with 1,588 more. That breaks the previous singe-day high of 1,581 set just last Saturday.
Of today’s new cases, 522 are in Peel Region, 450 in Toronto and 153 in York Region, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
Premier Doug Ford announced on Friday that Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region are going back into lockdown, as of Monday, and several other regions are moving to higher restriction levels.
WATCH | Ontario puts Toronto and Peel Region into lockdown:
Saskatchewan announced a single-day record of 436 new cases, pushing the province past the 6,000 mark for total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. Officials says the large increase is partially due to a record-high number of tests being processed, alongside weather-related and logistical delays.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe issued a statement regarding Saturday’s figures, which he called “very concerning.”
“Our seven-day average for new cases is now 203, which is the highest it has ever been,” said Moe. “While it’s too soon for the new measures implemented last week to have made an impact, we are continuing to evaluate the situation closely and will consider further measures.”
What’s happening across Canada
As of 3:30 p.m. ET, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 324,372, with 53,287 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 11,397.
Manitoba reported 387 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional deaths.
The new figures come a day after the province’s new restrictions came into effect. As of Friday, the sale of non-essential items are banned in stores — though people can still buy those items for delivery or curbside pickup — and almost all visitors to homes, with a few exceptions, are prohibited.
WATCH | Winnipeg’s big retailers block access to non-essential goods:
Quebec saw 1,189 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 more deaths.
The latest major outbreak in the province is at a Quebec City convent, where 39 nuns and 43 workers at the Soeurs de la Charité in suburban Beauport have tested positive for COVID-19.
A group of nurses, patient attendants and licensed practical nurses were deployed to the convent on Wednesday to provide assistance and are still working at the site.
Nova Scotia reported eight new cases, after seeing five new cases on Friday.
Newfoundland and Labrador announced five new cases on Saturday, the largest single-day increase in cases in the province since April 16.
Nunavut reported 25 new cases in the territory, of which 22 are in the hard-hit community of Arviat.
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday, there were more than 57.7 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 37 million of those cases listed as recovered, according to a COVID-19 tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.3 million.
In Europe, Russia reported 24,822 new cases and 467 more deaths — both new daily highs. The recent surge in infections is straining Russia’s vast but underfunded health-care system, with many infected people reportedly forced to search for sparse hospital beds.
WATCH | Inside a Moscow COVID-19 ward:
In Asia, India has reported 46,232 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with the situation particularly alarming in New Delhi. Intensive care wards and the capital’s main crematorium are near capacity, and health officials this week found the prevalence of infections in markets much higher than expected.
In the Americas, the U.S. state of California is enacting a nighttime curfew on Saturday as spiking coronavirus cases threaten to overrun health-care systems. Los Angeles County, the state’s largest with about 10 million people, warned that a more drastic lockdown could be imminent.
Africa has surpassed two million confirmed coronavirus cases and seen more than 48,000 deaths on the continent. The World Health Organization says the current wave of infections on the continent is driven by North African nations as temperatures fall there.