Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada hits 800,000 total cases of COVID-19, top doctor says numbers trending down

Outbreaks are still happening in high-risk settings and among vulnerable populations, said Tam

Canada crossed another disheartening threshold in the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, even as the country’s top doctor said there are hopeful signs with case counts and hospitalizations gradually trending downward.

The national tally of total cases since the onset of the global health crisis surpassed 800,000, led by daily reports from Quebec and Ontario that added 1,204 and 1,388 respectively to the overall count. Federal government data shows Canada has logged 801,057 total infections and 20,702 deaths over the course of the pandemic.

It took three weeks for Canada to add another 100,000 cases to its national tally, with the government reporting just over 700,000 diagnoses on Jan. 16.

Quebec, meanwhile, was poised to record its 10,000th death linked to the illness. The 27 fatalities counted Saturday pushed the provincial death toll to 9,999.

At the same time, a statement from Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said national surveillance data show “hopeful signs of declining COVID-19 activity,” suggesting ongoing public health restrictions across the country are taking effect.

“It is crucial that strong measures are kept in place in order to maintain a steady downward trend,” she added.

“The risk remains that trends could reverse quickly, particularly in areas of the country that are reporting increased, unchanged or only modest declines in COVID-19 disease activity.”

Outbreaks are still happening in high-risk settings and among vulnerable populations, said Tam, including hospitals, long-term care homes, correctional facilities, and remote communities.

Tam repeated her warning that new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 could rapidly accelerate transmission in Canada.

Her warning comes as multiple provinces prepare to ease strict public health measures put in place when case counts were soaring acorss the country.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to reveal details this coming week about plans to reopen the economy following the provincewide shutdown that’s been in place since Dec. 26. A provincial state of emergency declared on Jan. 12 is set to expire Tuesday, and a senior government source with knowledge of the province’s plans told The Canadian Press that order will likely expire on schedule.

Swaths of Quebec — not including Nunavik — have been subject to that province’s strictest public health rules since early January, with updates to alert levels in some regions set to take effect Monday.

Alberta announced Saturday it would allow limited school and team sports for children and teens to resume on Monday, after saying late last month children’s sport and performance activities could resume on that date as long as they related to school programming.

Officials in British Columbia bucked the trend, however, announcing Friday that restrictions on social gatherings would be extended ahead of upcoming events including the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Family Day and the Lunar New Year.

READ MORE: Trudeau says government foresaw short-term delays in vaccine deliveries to Canada, planned accordingly

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

Robert Emms spotted these beauties in a waterway in downtown Penticton. (Robert Emms)
Trumpeter swans visit downtown Penticton

The beautiful birds are regulars near the shores of Okanagan Lake on Highway 97

Ecologist and writer Don Gayton wraps up the Penticton Arts Council’s March events. (Submitted)
Penticton Arts Council unveils March’s programs

Making your own comics and short stories highlight March events

After 20 years in the community, Pathways Addiction Recovery Centre has had its funding cut by Interior Health, who says they are bringing addictions services in-house now. (Facebook)
Community outraged at Interior Health’s decision to cut funding to Penticton addiction services centre

People question why Pathways addiction services would be cut during an overdose epidemic

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals on Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Most Read