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2,145 more coronavirus cases confirmed as Canadian total pushes past 215,000 – Global News

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Canada added 2,145 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus to its nationwide tally on Sunday, along with 24 more deaths.

So far, 215,884 people in Canada have tested positive for the virus, while the country’s death toll stands at 9,946. Since the pandemic began, 181,429 people have recovered after falling ill and more than 11.1 million tests have been administered.

Read more:
Quebec reaches more than 100,000 total cases of COVID-19

Sunday’s numbers represent a partial update on the pandemic because B.C., Alberta, P.E.I. and the territories only provide new figures on weekdays.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the latest national data showed Canada was averaging 2,488 newly confirmed cases and 74,719 tests conducted per day, Of those tested, she said 3.1 per cent resulted in a positive diagnosis.

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“Outbreaks continue to contribute to COVID-19 spread in Canada,” Tam said in a statement.

“These vary in size from just a few cases to larger clusters occurring in a range of settings including long term care and assisted living facilities, schools, congregate living settings, industrial work settings and large social gatherings.”


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Travel agency plans to extend Atlantic bubble to Cuba


Travel agency plans to extend Atlantic bubble to Cuba

In Quebec — the country’s viral epicentre — health officials reported 879 new cases of COVID-19, tipping the provincial total past 100,000.

They added 11 more people had died, moving the number of deaths in the province up to 6,143.

As of Sunday, 84,828 people residing in the province had recovered and more than 2.9 million COVID-19 tests had been administered.

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Ontario health officials detected 1,042 more infections of the virus, setting a new single-day record, and said seven more people had died.

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Since the pandemic began, the province has confirmed 70,373 cases of COVID-19 and 3,093 deaths.

More than 4.9 million tests for the virus have been conducted while 60,160 people are in recovery.

In the wake of the province’s grim milestone, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott urged Canadians to follow public health guidelines and reduce the curve in a series of posts on Twitter.

“We all need to do our part to #StopTheSpread of #COVID19,” she tweeted.

Sixty more people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, bringing the province’s national number to 2,729. So far, 25 people in the province have died from the virus, 2,085 have recovered and 247,909 tests have been administered by provincial health authorities. Twenty five people are in hospital and 619 cases are active.

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The number of active cases and hospitalizations are at their highest levels seen in the province.

Read more:
Saskatchewan reports 60 new cases as hospitalizations hit an all-time high

Scott Moe, who is seeking reelection as premier this week, said during a campaign stop on Saturday that the spread of the coronavirus could be curbed without having to resort to shutdowns.

“We will not have to have an economy-wide shutdown. We understand the virus much better,” he said.


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How to prepare your child for a COVID-19 nasal swab


How to prepare your child for a COVID-19 nasal swab

In Manitoba, health authorities said four more people had died and 161 new cases of COVID-19 were detected. Since the start of the pandemic, the province has reported 4,249 cases and 54 deaths.

By Sunday, 2,142 people had recovered after falling ill and officials conducted 240,639 tests.

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Two more COVID-19-related deaths were recorded in New Brunswick on Sunday.

“I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the individuals, as well as to all of those in the Campbellton-Restigouche and Moncton regions,” chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said in a statement.

“Kindness and compassion, along with strict adherence to two-metre distancing, and mask use are how we will get through this together.”

Read more:
4 COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba, 161 new cases Sunday, 77 hospitalized

The province also reported two new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 328 confirmed infections and six deaths. So far, 96,747 tests have been administered and 257 of the province’s confirmed cases are considered resolved.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one more case of the virus on Sunday, bringing its total to 280. The case is tied to travel, officials said.

Among the provinces that provided updates on Saturday, Nova Scotia was the only one that did not see any new cases. The cumulative total stands at 1,110 infections, only six of which are currently active.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada around the world on Thursday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Alberta is planning for the creation of field hospitals to treat hundreds of COVID-19 patients, while B.C. has introduced new restrictions on indoor group activities.

In Alberta, health officials recently met to discuss a plan for two or more indoor field hospitals to treat 750 COVID-19 patients, with 375 beds each in Calgary and Edmonton for patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms, according to an internal government document obtained by CBC News.

Patients requiring intensive care would remain in city hospitals, according to the draft implementation plan detailed in the Alberta Health Services (AHS) document.

There has been increasing pressure on hospitals in the province, which has recorded more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases each day for nearly two weeks. On Wednesday, officials reported 1,685 new cases, along with 10 new deaths. There were 504 people in hospital, 97 of whom were in intensive care.

WATCH | Prospect of field hospitals concerns Edmonton intensive care doctor:

‘This is damage control,’ said Dr. Darren Markland, an intensive care physician in Edmonton, speaking about an internal government draft plan to treat 750 COVID-19 patients in field hospitals. 6:03

Also on Wednesday, CBC News reported that Alberta has informally asked the Trudeau government and the Red Cross to supply field hospitals, according to a federal source.

The source said the province would likely receive at least four field hospitals — two from the Red Cross and another two from the federal government.

Alberta introduced new COVID-19 measures on Nov. 24. They included banning all social gatherings in people’s homes, making masks mandatory for all indoor workplaces in the province’s two largest cities and moving all students in grades 7 to 12 to online learning starting Nov. 30.

Meanwhile, British Columbia officials have announced new restrictions that prohibit all indoor adult team sports and return children’s programs to earlier, more restrictive guidelines.

The move came as the province reported 834 new cases and 12 more deaths on Wednesday, with COVID-19 hospitalizations rising to another new high of 337, including 79 in critical care.

“We continue to see that indoor group activities — whether for fitness or team sports — are much higher risk right now,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a written statement.

In her Wednesday press briefing, Henry again urged everyone to not travel unless absolutely essential, citing the example of an old timers’ hockey team from the Interior that recently travelled to Alberta for games.

Some team members came back with COVID-19 and exposed their family members and co-workers, which led to “several dozen” new cases in the community, Henry said.

WATCH | B.C.’s top doctor asks residents to avoid non-essential travel:

Dr. Bonnie Henry asks residents of B.C. to avoid non-essential travel as cases rise in the province. 1:52

Separately, news that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is shortening the recommended length of quarantine after exposure has Canadian health experts weighing whether a similar approach could be useful here.

The CDC is shortening its quarantine recommendation from 14 days to 10 — or seven days with a negative test result. Health Canada was still recommending a 14-day quarantine period as of Wednesday.

In an interview with CBC News, infection control and disease specialist Dr. Michael Gardam said he believes that duration could be lowered given what has been learned about the disease since the pandemic began.

WATCH | Why one expert says Canada should look at shortening quarantine period:

Health Canada is still recommending a 14-day quarantine period for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. But according to infection control and disease specialist Dr. Michael Gardam, that duration could be lowered given what has been learned about the disease since the pandemic began.  1:04

What’s happening across Canada

As of 11:15 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 393,070 — two additional cases are pending confirmation — with 68,292 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,369.

Ontario reported 1,824 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 new deaths on Thursday. However, the number of new cases was inflated due to a processing error that resulted in the Middlesex-London public health unit recording three days’ worth of case data, the provincial health ministry said.

The number of patients confirmed to have COVID-19 in the province’s intensive care units has risen to 203, according to a report by Critical Care Services Ontario.

A person walks past a COVID-19 assessment centre in Toronto on Wednesday. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Public health officials have said that 150 is the threshold for when unrelated surgeries and procedures may be postponed or cancelled to accommodate the influx of COVID-19 patients. 

Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Wednesday that the province has “plateaued at a very high level,” and the results of lockdowns in Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region, which began Nov. 23, won’t be seen until next week.

Quebec reported 1,470 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday — a day after surpassing 1,500 daily cases for the first time — along with 30 new deaths.

The province has tightened the health guidelines for stores and malls for the holiday shopping season, including a maximum capacity of customers based on floor space available to customers.

Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said that many shopping venues already have such measures in place but those that don’t risk being fined up to $6,000 or closed altogether.

A sign showing the maximum number of clients as part of COVID-19 measures is seen at the entrance of a clothing store in Montreal on Wednesday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported 17 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

In the evening, Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack confirmed two cases were found in the community in the province’s northern health zone — the first time COVID-19 has been detected on a First Nation in Atlantic Canada. Those cases were not part of Wednesday’s numbers reported by public health.

New Brunswick reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case.

Prince Edward Island, which did not provide an update on Wednesday, is adding 55 new front-line positions to schools across the province to support students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Manitoba, students in grades 7 to 12 will shift to remote learning for two weeks following the winter break as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said Wednesday.

The announcement came as the province hit a record high of 351 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 51 in intensive care. Officials also reported 277 new COVID-19 cases and 14 additional deaths.

Saskatchewan reported 238 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths on Wednesday.

WATCH | Nunavut lifts territory-wide lockdown but restrictions remain in Arviat:

Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, warns Arviat needs to keep its tight restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. 1:04

In the North, Nunavut moved out of a two-week territory-wide lockdown on Wednesday, with restrictions easing for all communities except for Arviat, where community transmission of COVID-19 is still occurring. The territory reported 11 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, all in Arviat.

Yukon reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. Wearing a mask in public indoor places became mandatory in the territory this week, following a sharp rise in cases in the past few weeks.

The Northwest Territories did not report any new cases on Wednesday. There have been 15 confirmed cases in the territory since the start of the pandemic, none of which are considered still active.


What’s happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7 a.m. ET

As of early Thursday morning, there were more than 64.6 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 41.6 million of those listed as recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at nearly 1.5 million.

In the Americas, U.S. deaths from the coronavirus pandemic have surged past 2,000 for two days in a row as the most dangerous season of the year approached, taxing an overwhelmed health-care system with U.S. political leadership in disarray.

The toll from COVID-19 reached its second-highest level ever on Wednesday with 2,811 lives lost, according to a Reuters tally of official data, one short of the record from April 15. Nearly 200,000 new U.S. cases were reported on Wednesday, with record hospitalizations approaching 100,000 patients.

Santa Claus gestures to visitors in their cars as they attend the Dodgers Holiday Festival, a physically distanced drive-thru light and performance event honouring the Dodgers’ World Series win and celebrating the holiday season, at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The sobering data came as the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday warned that December, January and February were likely to be “the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.”

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that the United States could start losing around 3,000 people — roughly the number that died in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — each day over the next two months.

In Europe, coronavirus infections in Russia hit a new record on Thursday, as the country’s authorities reported 28,145 new confirmed cases — the highest daily spike in the pandemic and an increase of 2,800 cases from those registered the previous day.

Russia’s total number of COVID-19 cases — nearly 2.4 million — remains the world’s fourth-highest. The government coronavirus task force has reported 41,607 deaths in the pandemic.

The country has been swept by a rapid resurgence of the outbreak this fall, with numbers of confirmed COVID-19 infections and deaths regularly hitting new highs and significantly exceeding those reported in the spring. The country’s authorities have resisted imposing a second nationwide lockdown or a widespread closure of businesses.

In the Asia-Pacific region, hundreds of thousands of masked students in South Korea, including 35 COVID-19 patients, are taking the country’s highly competitive university entrance exam despite a viral resurgence that has forced authorities to toughen physical distancing rules.

The Education Ministry says about 493,430 students began taking the one-day test at about 1,380 test sites across South Korea on Thursday. It says the test sites include hospitals and other medical facilities where the 35 virus patients and hundreds of others placed under self-quarantine will take the exam.

Africa’s top public health official says 60 per cent of the continent’s population needs to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the next two to three years. The director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, told reporters that if it takes four to five years, “the virus will be endemic in our communities.”

Concerns are growing that the continent of 1.3 billion people will be near the end of the line in obtaining doses. Nkengasong isn’t sure whether vaccines will be available in Africa before the second quarter of next year. But he pushed back against vaccine misinformation, saying that “if I had my way today to take a flight to the U.K. and get that vaccine, I would be doing it right now.”

The continent now has well over 2.1 million confirmed virus cases and more than 52,000 COVID-19-related deaths.

Iran, the hardest-hit nation in the Middle East, passed one million total COVID-19 cases on Thursday with 13,922 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.

Ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 358 people had died from the coronavirus since Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 49,348.

Iran has introduced tougher measures to stem a third wave of coronavirus infections, including closing non-essential businesses and travel restrictions.

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Vaccine priority list must be refined to match available doses: Tam – CBC.ca

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Canada’s chief public health officer says the priority list of people who will get vaccinated first against COVID-19 has to be refined because the initial six million doses set to arrive in the first batch will not be enough to cover them all.

Health Canada is in the final stages of reviewing the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The regulator anticipates decisions on approving both before the end of December.

Vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are also being studied, with no suggestion yet of when those reviews might be done. Canada has contracts for three more vaccines in late-stage clinical trials but has not starting rolling reviews on any of them yet.

Dr. Theresa Tam said the variety of vaccines on Canada’s docket and the expectation that several will eventually be approved “means we will have more flexibility as time goes on, and more and more vaccines come on board.”

“We’re expecting that in the second quarter, depending on the approvals of the vaccines, we will have different amounts, but that is when the supply will become more and more plentiful,” she said Wednesday in a virtual speech at the 2020 Canadian Immunization Conference.

Most vaccine makers are just starting to ramp up production now. Initial production lots are much smaller, and are in high demand everywhere in the world.

At the moment, Canada is on track to get four million doses from Pfizer and two million from Moderna between January and March. With both vaccines needing two doses to be effective, that’s only enough to vaccinate three million people.

“So we have to do further refinements to these priority groups in order to know exactly how we’re going to sequence the delivery of the vaccines,” Tam said.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said having to pare down the list is a massive Liberal government failure.

“There is no clear plan who is going to receive the vaccine,” he said Wednesday.

“The government has not provided these details.”

Provinces will ultimately decide

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued a preliminary priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine last month, with four subsets of people based on risk of serious illness or death, and risk of exposure or outbreaks.

The list included older Canadians, those with pre-existing conditions like liver and heart disease or diabetes, and people who live in the same household as those people. Long-term care workers, people who live in Indigenous communities, and front-line essential workers such as first responders or grocery store employees are also included.

But that list of people is far longer than three million. There are nearly seven million Canadians over the age of 65 alone.

Provincial governments will ultimately decide their own priorities but the national list is intended to guide those decisions.

Long-term care homes are widely expected to be the highest priority for both workers and residents. In the first wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Canada, more than eight in 10 people who died from COVID-19 were associated with long-term care.

The tragedy has continued in the second wave, with outbreaks in hundreds of facilities countrywide, and more residents dying every day. Ontario reported 35 deaths from COVID-19 Wednesday and 22 of them were residents in long-term care.

More than 400,000 Canadians live in a long-term care setting or a retirement residence, according to the 2016 Census by Statistics Canada.

Approving the vaccines is only the first step in what Tam called one of “the most complex operations ever taken in public health.” Getting it to provinces to administer and convincing Canadians to take it could prove to be even more difficult.

Tam appealed to the medical experts in the audience to help combat growing rhetoric that COVID-19 vaccines aren’t safe.

From a petition sponsored by Conservative MP Derek Sloan that warns these vaccines are “effectively human experimentation,” to a van driving around Ottawa with a digital display claiming the vaccine “will destroy your DNA” there is evidence of some campaigns to convince Canadians not to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it comes.

Tam said disinformation campaigns are not new but “because of the social media and its internet age, we’ve got even more of a challenge on our hands than anyone else in tackling pandemics of the past.”

“So it is a significant aspect of the response that we have to deal with,” she said.

She said the Public Health Agency of Canada is developing a series of webinars about the vaccines, how the regulatory and approval process works, and how the different types of vaccines work, so medical professionals can become influencers in their communities.

WATCH |  Vaccine won’t be available for children at first

Health Canada Chief Medical Adviser Supriya Sharma says current trials don’t include children under 12 and the first vaccinations will focus on adults. 1:01

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Canada posts deadliest day of coronavirus pandemic since June as vaccine hopes rise – Global News

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Newly-identified cases of the novel coronavirus surged past the 6,000 mark in Canada again on Wednesday as the country identified its highest increase in COVID-19 deaths since early June.

The new cases, which totaled 6,302, brought Canada’s caseload to 389,436. Health authorities also reported an increase of 114 deaths, though only 80 of those fatalities occurred in the past 24 hours.

The last time cases surpassed 110 was on June 4, which saw 139 deaths reported to have been caused by the virus.

Read more:
Liberals introduce coronavirus spending bill days after unveiling economic update

Canada’s death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 12,325, while over 309,000 patients have since recovered and another 14.8 million tests have been administered so far.

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As Canadian communities continue to grapple with surges in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Canada’s chief public health officer said the priority list of people to get the coronavirus vaccine would have to be refined further, due to the initial six million doses not being enough to inoculate them all.


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Coronavirus: Tam says priority list for first COVID-19 vaccinations being refined


Coronavirus: Tam says priority list for first COVID-19 vaccinations being refined

As of now, Canada is set to receive four million doses from Pfizer and two million from Moderna within the first quarter of 2021. The amount would only be enough to vaccinate three million people, however, as a person would need two doses of the vaccine in order for it to be effective.

Tam hinted that the variety and supply of doses was expected to increase soon due to Canada having contracts for three more vaccines that are in late-state clinical trials, having said that “means we will have more flexibility as time goes on, and more and more vaccines come on board.”

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“We’re expecting that in the second quarter. Depending on the approvals of the vaccines, we will have different amounts, but that is when the supply will become more and more plentiful,” said Tam Wednesday during a virtual speech at the 2020 Canadian Immunization Conference.

Canada’s health minister also said on Wednesday that the country’s review of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was “expected to be completed soon” — comments that come shortly after news of the U.K. officially approving the vaccine.

“The news that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved in the U.K. is encouraging. Health Canada’s review of this candidate is ongoing, and is expected to be completed soon,” said Patty Hadju.

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“Making sure a COVID-19 vaccine is safe before approving it is Health Canada’s priority, and when a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready.”


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Coronavirus: U.K.’s Johnson stresses global co-operation following approval of Pfizer vaccine


Coronavirus: U.K.’s Johnson stresses global co-operation following approval of Pfizer vaccine

During the conference, Tam also revealed plans from the Public Health Agency of Canada to combat the increase in misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine using online webinars. According to her, the webinars would include several topics like the different types of vaccines available, how to run immunization clinics and guidance on how to use vaccines.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“Because of the social media and its internet age, we’ve got even more of a challenge on our hands than anyone else in tackling pandemics of the past,” said Tam, who also noted the importance of Canadians knowing how vaccines are developed

The federal government also introduced a new COVID-19 spending bill Wednesday, just days after revealing the country’s economic update.

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The bill, which would effectively determine how billions of dollars in new pandemic-related aid would be spent, would follow the measures proposed in Monday’s fall economic statement.


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‘Take this seriously’: 23-year-old suffers stroke due to COVID-19


‘Take this seriously’: 23-year-old suffers stroke due to COVID-19

Several provinces across Canada also reported surges in new coronavirus cases Wednesday, with Ontario, Alberta and Quebec all reporting over 1,500 newly reported infections.

Ontario added the highest increase of 1,723 cases, pushing its total caseload to 119,922. Another 35 deaths were also reported by the province, which now has 656 people in hospital due to COVID-19.

Alberta added 1,685 more infections on Wednesday as well as 10 additional deaths. The new data also comes amid an announcement from Premier Jason Kenney that the province expects its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine to arrive by Jan 4.

“While we can’t control when these vaccines arrive in Alberta, we can make sure that when we get them, we’re ready to roll them out as quickly as we can,” said Kenny during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. To date, Alberta has seen a total of 61,169 virus cases and 561 deaths.

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Quebec added another 43 deaths on Wednesday, of which only nine occurred within the past 24 hours. The fatalities bring the province’s death toll to 7,125, while health authorities reported an additional 1,514 cases Wednesday.

British Columbia added 830 cases as well, pushing the province’s caseload to 34,728. A total of 338 cases are considered “epi-linked,’ which are cases that show symptoms and were close contacts of confirmed infections, but were never tested.

Read more:
Canada’s review of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be completed ‘soon,’ health minister says

Saskatchewan announced 237 cases and Manitoba another 277, bringing their total case figures to 8,982 and 17,384, respectively.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick added another six cases while Newfoundland and Labrador reported just one. Nova Scotia reported an increase of 17 cases Wednesday, pushing its total infections to 1,332.

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The Yukon added one more cases on Wednesday, while Nunavut added another 11. The Northwest Territories did not report any additional cases.


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Looking at widely praised coronavirus messages from around the world


Looking at widely praised coronavirus messages from around the world

Nunavut’s government also lifted its two-week lockdown on Wednesday everywhere except for the coastal town of Arviat, of which saw all 11 new cases reported by the province. To date, Nunavut has seen 193 cases of the novel coronavirus — the highest among Canada’s territories.

Cases of the coronavirus have since surpassed 64.4 million according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. A total of 1,491,000 people have also succumbed to the virus, with the United States, Brazil and India leading in both cases and deaths.

With files from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun and The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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