Canada remains on a troubling path for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue to mount, the country’s Canada’s chief public health officer said Saturday.
The most recent infection rates indicate Canada is on track to hit as many as 10,000 new cases a day by next month, Dr. Theresa 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,” Tam said in a statement.
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“Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory.”
Canada is currently recording caseloads at about half that level, with the most recent seven-day average standing at 5,335 between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26.
Tam said Canada is also averaging 76 deaths a day and more than 2,100 people in hospital.
People 80 years and older are experiencing Canada’s highest COVID-19 death rate, and there are now more and larger outbreaks in long-term care facilities, hospitals, group living settings, Indigenous communities and remote areas, she said.
“Those developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” Tam said.
Tam redoubled her calls for Canadians to heed public health advice, limit their social interactions and practise physical distancing in a bid to bring surging case counts under control.
Her assessment came as case counts continued to soar in numerous provinces.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 6:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, 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.
Quebec set a new single-day record with 1,480 new infections Saturday as the provincial death toll crossed the 7,000 threshold.
Alberta also broke its own record, reporting 1,731 new cases of the virus on Saturday. It also counted five new deaths.
Ontario logged case numbers just shy of Friday’s one-day record as it reported 1,822 new diagnoses in the past 24 hours, as of Saturday. The bulk of the new cases are again in Toronto and Peel Region, both currently under lockdown and each reporting more than 500 new infections.
Officials in the province have said it could take at least two weeks to see some improvements after the added restrictions were imposed on Monday.
Case numbers also jumped sharply in Manitoba, where officials recorded 487 new infections and 10 new deaths on Saturday. Among those who died was a boy under the age of 10, officials said, though they offered no other details.
Saskatchewan reported 197 COVID-19 cases and one death Saturday.
The province ordered the suspension of team sports earlier this week until Dec. 17 after confirmed COVID-19 cases among several minor and recreational hockey teams. The Saskatchewan suspension applies to hockey and curling leagues and dance studios.
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In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced the closure of an elementary school in Surrey after confirming 16 COVID-19 cases.
Newton Elementary School will close for two weeks, said Fraser Health.
B.C. reported a daily record of 911 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province will update its numbers Monday.
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Prince Edward Island reported two new COVID-19 cases, both involving young males aged 10 and 19.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday morning, there were more than 62.3 million cases of COVID-19 recorded worldwide, with more than 39.8 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.
Hong Kong reported 115 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, including 109 locally transmitted, the highest in nearly four months. The government has ordered schools to close from Wednesday until after the Christmas holidays.
India has reported 41,180 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with the daily toll staying below the 50,000-mark for the fourth week.
New Delhi also got some respite as it added fewer than 5,000 cases for the first time in a month.
The New Delhi government decided that half its employees, barring senior officials, will be allowed to work from home starting Monday. India reported another 496 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 136,696. India’s confirmed cases since the pandemic began are more than 9.3 million, second behind the U.S.
The United Sates has reported four million cases for November, as of Saturday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s more than double the 1.9 million cases reported the previous month. The total has recorded more than 13.2 million cases of the respiratory illness since the pandemic began, the most of any country.
Oklahoma health officials reported a one-day record of more than 6,000 newly confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday as experts warned the Thanksgiving holiday may make testing numbers erratic.
The Czech Republic’s government has announced it is easing measures imposed to contain coronavirus infections. Sunday’s move was made possible by the falling numbers of new confirmed cases.
The day-to-day increase of new cases reached 2,667 on Saturday. The country of almost 10.7 million has had 518,649 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, with 8,054 fatalities.
Health Minister Jan Blatny said all stores, restaurants and bars can reopen on Thursday, with limitations on seating. Stores and shopping centres will also still have to limit the number of shoppers.