Coronavirus: Canada reports record infections


Canada has reported 13,460 new COVID-19 infections so far Wednesday, setting a new record for daily cases since the start of the pandemic.

That number does not include infections from British Columbia, which reports later in the day, or any of the territories.

The record number comes amid a steady increase in infections after the country logged a total of 11,690 new cases on Tuesday and 10,665 on Monday, according to data collected by CTVNews.ca.

According to the data, the country’s seven-day average is also the highest it has ever been during the course of the pandemic at 10,268.4 cases.

The new record marks a grim milestone as provinces across Canada impose new restrictions and speed up rollouts of booster shots to help curb the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Omicron is now the dominant variant in several provinces, according to chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam, prompting the closure of businesses and tight restrictions on capacity limits ahead of the holidays.

“Modelling shows that by the beginning of January we could have very high number of cases, which underscores the need to act urgently now to reduce the acceleration,” Tam said during a press briefing Wednesday.

Health officials stress that severe illness trends are also on the rise in Canada, but note it is unclear if those more serious cases are linked to the lagging effect of the Delta variant or Omicron.

However, Tam says a fast-spreading wave of Omicron could make the problem in Canadian hospitals worse even if the variant turns out to be less severe.

To avoid a sudden rush on the health-care system, Tam urged all Canadians to do what they can to lessen the spread of the virus, including changing their Christmas plans.

“This variant spreads extremely quickly and the situation can rapidly get out of hand anywhere,” she said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also present at the press conference on Wednesday, said he plans to adjust his own festivities.

“There have been lots of conversations about not seeing friends, not gathering for New Year’s, not gathering outside immediate family for Christmas in our household like in a lot of households,” he said.

NEW RESTRICTIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Just before midnight tonight, bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centres, and dance studios in B.C. must close. Starting Friday, Alberta is limiting venues that seat more than 1,000 people, including arenas, to half capacity, while Prince Edward Island has joined Newfoundland and Labrador in requiring visitors to isolate upon arrival in the province.

Quebec reported a record number of cases for the third day in a row Wednesday, with the Omicron variant accounting for nearly 80 per cent of the 6,361 new infections.

On Tuesday, the city of Montreal reintroduced a state of emergency and Quebec Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault said she has asked the federal government for military help in getting vaccines into arms.

In addition, Quebec Premier Francois Legault is expected to announce some “difficult choices” later Wednesday in response to the rapid spread of the variant.

Ontario health officials reported 4,383 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, marking the highest daily case count in the province since late April. The Omicron variant has largely overtaken the rising wave of infections in the province, even for those vaccinated with both COVID-19 shots.

The recent spike in case numbers has brought stricter visiting policies in several Ontario hospitals and some facilities have paused non-essential care and surgical procedures.

Despite projections that Omicron-driven cases and hospitalizations will increase dramatically by the end of December without stronger measures, health officials said they will not tighten public health measures for the holidays.

In Manitoba, tighter capacity restrictions came into effect on Tuesday with gyms, movie theatres and restaurants limited to half capacity, despite people being required to show proof of vaccination to enter these establishments.

The federal government announced Wednesday it intends to temporarily expand the eligibility of several support programs to apply to those impacted by these new public health restrictions driven by the Omicron surge.

With files from The Canadian Press





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.