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

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires Vancouver Island wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

The Port Alberni Train Station is located outside the entrance to Harbour Quay, on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Port Alberni gets funding to restore heritage train station

Historic train station needs seismic upgrades

Raw logs are loaded onto a logging ship from a log sort down the Alberni Inlet in March 2019. SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News
Port Alberni light on industrial land

Report finds few suitable locations for new industry

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College plans tourism networking event

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on Vancouver Island’s tourism industry

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

RCMP say a woman turned herself in to police after hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident in downtown Nanaimo on Friday morning. (File photo)
Driver flees, then turns herself in after hitting pedestrian in downtown Nanaimo

RCMP say woman was struck in marked crosswalk after driver ran red light

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read