Multiple provinces reported a record single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases on Saturday as the country’s chief public health officer says she fears the number of hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks — with the second wave continuing to drive the national death toll toward 10,000.
The number of active COVID-19 cases rose 16 per cent week over week, according to figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The sharp uptick left an average of 1,010 patients being treated in hospital each day over the past week, about 20 per cent of whom were in intensive care, Tam said.
1/2 To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 9,476,989 people for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>, w an average ~2.1% positive overall, for a rate of 252,120 people tested per million population in Canada. <a href=”https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo”>https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo</a>
Average daily deaths associated with the virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago.
Tam said the most critical health consequences associated with the spike have yet to emerge.
“As hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts associated with the ongoing increase in COVID-19 disease activity,” she said in a written statement.
“As well, influenza and respiratory infections typically increase during the fall and winter, placing increased demands on hospitals. This is why it is so important for people of all ages to maintain public health practices that keep respiratory infection rates low.”
What’s happening elsewhere in Canada
As of 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 213,959 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 179,636 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting rose to 9,922.
In Alberta, a lawyer is calling for action after an outbreak at a Calgary jail leapt to 55 cases, a notable increase after the outbreak was initially reported Thursday.
In British Columbia, polling stations have been equipped with personal protective equipment, plastic barriers and other now-usual preventative pandemic measures as residents cast their ballots in the provincial snap election.
Saskatchewan reported 78 new cases, the highest single-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic. Meanwhile, three more cases have been recorded at two Regina schools and an outbreak has been declared at Saskatoon’s largest shelter.
Ontario reported 978 new cases on Saturday, a single-day high since the pandemic began.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new confirmed case, a man from the Eastern Health region in his 50s who had returned home to the province after working in Alberta.
Nova Scotia reported three new cases, all related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.
New Brunswick announced two new cases in the province, both in the Campbellton region.
In Prince Edward Island, residents of Charlottetown-Winsloe strapped on their masks, sanitized their hands and marked their ballots in the province’s first taste of pandemic-era voting.
What’s happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 42.2 million. More than 1.1 million people have died, while more than 28.5 million have recovered.
In Europe, Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for coronavirus, his spokesperson says. Duda’s diagnosis comes amid a huge surge in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths in Poland, pushing the country’s strained health system to the breaking point. The government is preparing to open field hospitals, but it is not sure where it will find the doctors and nurses to staff them.
Italy reported another daily record for COVID-19 cases on Saturday as the government planned further restrictions to contain a resurgence of the pandemic, despite a second night of street protests against curfews ordered this week.
In the Americas, Colombia reached one million confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, its health ministry says. The nation of 50 million saw cases peak in August and has seen a decline since but still continues to register around 8,000 new infections a day. Argentina passed one million confirmed cases on Monday to become the second Latin American country to reach that mark after Brazil, while Peru and Mexico are expected to reach that threshold in the coming weeks.
In Asia, authorities in Sri Lanka closed at least two fishery harbours and many stalls after a surge of 609 cases linked to the country’s main fish market. Authorities say the outbreak is related to a cluster in a garment factory early this month, which has grown to 3,426 cases, almost half the country’s total of 6,287. Several thousand people have been asked to quarantine at home.
Victoria state, Australia’s COVID-19 hotspot, on Sunday local time delayed the eagerly awaited removal of strict lockdown restrictions for cafes, restaurants and pubs in the capital Melbourne because of an outbreak in the northern suburbs. The restrictions have kept most retail businesses in Melbourne providing online services only since early August and 5 million people living under stay-at-home orders were hoping for an announcement on Sunday.
In Africa, the Ethiopian attorney general’s office said authorities can jail people for up to two years if they deliberately violate restrictions amid concerns that citizens are becoming lax after a state of emergency was lifted. The country has seen more than 91,000 cases and more than 1,300 deaths.
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