Over 600K Canadians have now been infected with COVID-19

6 months ago 22
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Canada surpassed 600,000 cases of the novel coronavirus Monday, as much of the country continues to grapple with accelerating transmission and hospitalizations.

The national total climbed to 600,667 as of Monday morning with Ontario’s latest provincial tally of 3,270. A total of 15,894 people have also died from the virus after 29 more deaths were announced in Ontario.

There was a slight delay in releasing fresh figures as some provinces and territories refrained from releasing new COVID-19 data either during the holidays or over the New Year’s weekend. Health Canada’s tally of cases put the country’s total caseload over 600,000 as of Sunday night.

The new milestone was hit even before daily case numbers were released by Quebec and Alberta, both of which have also contributed heavily to the rapidly growing national infection rate.

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Canada closed in on 500,000 diagnoses on Dec. 19, meaning more than 100,000 new cases were added to the national tally in just over two weeks.

Experts have long warned that the winter months, when coupled with the desire to gather for the holidays, could result in a dangerous situation for the country. But cases have been steadily increasing for months, leaving hospitals and health care systems already overwhelmed and some long-term care facilities in a dire state.

Click to play video 'Epidemiologist on rising COVID-19 case counts in Ontario and the vaccines' 3:31 Epidemiologist on rising COVID-19 case counts in Ontario and the vaccines

Epidemiologist on rising COVID-19 case counts in Ontario and the vaccines

The worsening situation comes as two vaccines — Moderna and Pfizer — make their way across the country and into the arms of Canadians who need it most at this time.

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However, some provinces are facing criticism over the speed of their rollout plans, including Ontario and Alberta.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is overseeing logistical planning for Canada’s vaccine distribution efforts, said last week that the December allocations of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have almost all been delivered.

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He said Canada expects a sustained tempo of vaccine delivery in January, and an accelerated tempo through early 2021. By the end of January, Fortin said Canada should have 1.2 million doses of both vaccines.

Click to play video 'More Canadian politicians caught ignoring COVID-19 recommendations' 2:46 More Canadian politicians caught ignoring COVID-19 recommendations

More Canadian politicians caught ignoring COVID-19 recommendations

In the meantime, the message from public health experts remains the same: stay home. Despite this, new admissions from politicians over travelling during the pandemic continues to come to light, including from several Liberal Party MPs.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health minister, said it is “deeply concerning” that “some Canadians are still travelling for nonessential reasons.” The federal government will soon require all air passengers to obtain a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in the country, in an effort to bolster travel restrictions previously criticized as too lax.

“We must reiterate that now is not the time to travel,” Njoo said.

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— with files from Global News’ David Lao and the Canadian Press

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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