Canada’s death toll from COVID-19 passed 12,000 on Sunday, a day after the country’s chief public health officer said there is still a “window of opportunity” to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Canada remains on a troubling path for new infections as case counts continue to mount, Dr. Theresa Tam said Saturday, adding that the most recent infection rates indicate the country is on track to hit as many as 10,000 new cases a day by next month.
“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 11:20 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 367,913, with 62,650 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,012.
Ontario reported 1,708 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths on Sunday, with nearly 54,000 tests completed. Locally, there were 503 new cases in Peel Region, 463 in nearby Toronto and 185 in York Region. On Saturday, the province logged case numbers just shy of Friday’s one-day record as it reported 1,822 new diagnoses.
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.
Quebec reported 1,395 new cases on Sunday and 12 deaths from COVID-19. The province had set a new single-day record with 1,480 new infections on Saturday as the provincial death toll crossed the 7,000 threshold.
Alberta broke its own record on Saturday, reporting 1,731 new cases of the infection. It also counted five new deaths.
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.
On Sunday, RCMP officers prevented people from accessing the parking lot of the Church of God south of Steinbach, Man. Police recently issued two fines to a minister at the church for attending a protest against COVID-19 restrictions and being at a Sunday religious service.
Under Manitoba’s public health restrictions, group sizes can’t exceed more than five people inside or outside. Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship must be closed to the public, including for drive-up or drive-thru services.
RCMP have blocked Church of God congregation from accessing the church parking lot, south of Steinbach. More than 100 cars line the highway. Audio of the service playing loudly. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcmb?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#cbcmb</a> <a href=”https://t.co/W5SCksikuX”>pic.twitter.com/W5SCksikuX</a>
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, there were more than 62.4 million cases of COVID-19 recorded worldwide, with more than 39.9 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.
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.