- Ontario and Saskatchewan report new single-day high in caseloads.
- Aide to U.S. vice-president tests positive for COVID-19.
- Hindu festival season scaled down due to infections.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam is sounding the alarm again as COVID-19 case numbers rise across much of Canada, saying the most critical health consequences of the current spike have yet to emerge.
The warning comes after more than one province reported a record single-day increase in cases. Tam said health officials are watching the number of hospitalizations and deaths, which tend to lag behind an increase in cases by one to several weeks.
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 on Saturday.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 5 a.m. ET on Sunday, 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 British Columbia, polling stations were equipped with personal protective equipment, plastic barriers and other now-usual preventative pandemic measures as residents cast their ballots on Saturday, re-electing the NDP under John Horgan, who had called a snap election.
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.
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.
Quebec reported 1,009 new cases and 26 more deaths. As of Saturday, the province had 549 patients in hospital, 17 per cent of whom were in intensive care.
The average daily case count in Quebec remains higher than any other province, but appears to have plateaued for the time being since a peak of 1,364 on Oct. 6, the same week that tight new restrictions went into effect.
Ontario reported 978 new cases on Saturday, a single-day high since the pandemic began.
Despite the rising tally of cases in Ontario, politicians from the province’s Halton Region published a letter Saturday pleading for an exemption from stricter public health measures.
The mayors of Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills and Milton, along with Halton’s regional chair said they “prefer a measured, targeted approach over a blanket approach that unfairly punishes small businesses.”
The provincial government has already moved the long-standing hot spots of Ottawa, Toronto and the neighbouring regions of York and Peel to a modified Stage 2, which includes suspension of indoor dining at bars and restaurants.
However, rising case numbers elsewhere prompted Ontario Premier Doug Ford to announce Friday that officials would review the situation in Halton, Durham Region and other areas.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new confirmed case on Saturday, 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.
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>
What’s happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 42.7 million. More than 1.1 million people have died, while more than 28.8 million have recovered.
In Asia, the colourful Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Dussehra have been scaled down this year in India, amid fears among health experts that the festive season might lead to a cascade of new coronavirus infections.
The towering displays of religious sculptures are rare, and at many places, prayers have gone virtual, with organizers live streaming the sessions for the devotees.
In many states, police barricades have been erected around the usually buzzing places of worship to avoid large gatherings.
India has the second-largest coronavirus outbreak in the world, after the United States.
Last month, India hit a peak of nearly 100,000 cases in a single day, but since then daily infections have fallen by about half and deaths by about a third.
In the United States, Marc Short, the chief of staff for U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson for the vice-president said on Saturday.
Devin O’Malley said Pence himself remains in good health, has tested negative, and will maintain his schedule “in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”
In Europe, Spain is holding a special cabinet meeting on Sunday to discuss a new state of emergency after regions urged government action to allow them to impose curfews to help tackle its escalating outbreak.
This past week, Spain became the first European country to surpass 1 million officially recorded COVID-19 cases. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Friday the true figure could be more than 3 million, due to gaps in testing and other factors.
France on Saturday reported 45,422 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, a new record, after
reporting 42,032 on Friday.
In Africa, Algeria’s 75-year-old President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is self-isolating because some officials in “upper ranks of the government” are sick with COVID-19, he said in a tweet on Saturday.
The country has officially confirmed more than 55,000 cases of the novel coronavirus with nearly 2,000 deaths.
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