Canada’s top doctor expressed concern about the recent spike in coronavirus cases Saturday, as provinces reported an additional 371 diagnoses and two more deaths.
The new figures bring Canada’s COVID-19 death toll to 9,143. Since the start of the pandemic, 131,410 cases have been diagnosed overall. About 88 per cent of the country’s coronavirus patients are considered recovered.
Saturday’s numbers represent only a partial update, however, since B.C., Alberta, P.E.I. and the territories do not release daily figures on weekends.
Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the country is continuing to see an increase in daily case counts — which she said was a “key concern.”
The current seven-day average is 545 new cases per day, meaning case counts are back where they were in mid-July, she said in a statement.
“Although public health authorities continue to indicate that COVID-19 spread is still under manageable control, this is a situation that can change quickly,” Dr. Tam said.
“Increasing daily case counts tell us that COVID-19 is continuing to spread. This is a reminder that we all need to maintain public health measures, as this spread can quickly get out of control.”
Across the country, about 46,000 people were tested daily over the past week, and 0.9 per cent of those tests were positive, according to Dr. Tam. Since January, 6.7 million tests have been administered, provincial data compiled by Global News shows.
The two COVID-19 patient deaths announced Saturday occurred in Quebec, which also saw the country’s highest number of newly diagnosed cases at 175.
Officials said those fatalities happened sometime between Aug. 29 and Sept. 3. The province has suffered 5,769 COVID-19 deaths and 63,292 cases overall.
Ontario saw its largest daily uptick in cases in more than six weeks Saturday, with 169 new diagnoses reported.
The province’s overall number of cases surpassed 43,000 on Saturday. Since the pandemic started, 2,811 people in Ontario have died.
Manitoba reported 21 new cases Saturday. Overall, the province has diagnosed the fewest COVID-19 cases across the Prairies, with a total of 1,294 cases and a death toll of 16.
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Saskatchewan added five new cases on Saturday. The province’s total stands at 1,643, and two dozen COVID-19 fatalities have occurred.
A single coronavirus case was announced in Atlantic Canada on Saturday, in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Overall, there have been 270 coronavirus cases diagnosed in that province, and three people have succumbed to the illness. New Brunswick has had 192 cases, along with two fatalities. In Nova Scotia, there have been 1,085 cases and 65 people have died.
P.E.I., which last provided an update on Friday, has a cumulative total of 47 cases.
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B.C. and Alberta reported more than 100 new coronavirus cases each on Friday.
In Alberta, 242 COVID-19 patients have died since the start of the pandemic, and 14,474 cases have been diagnosed overall.
In B.C., there have been 6,077 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, plus an additional 85 considered “epi-linked.” The provincial death toll is 211.
Nunavut remains the only province or territory that has yet to diagnose a COVID-19 case.
Yukon has had 15 cases in total, while five have been diagnosed in the Northwest Territories.
All cases in both territories are resolved.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Trump says Canada wants to reopen the border. But do we, really? – CBC.ca
U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments on Friday suggesting Canada is keen to reopen the border with his country stand in direct contrast to statements made by Canadian officials supporting the continued border restrictions.
“We’re looking at the border with Canada. Canada would like it open, and, you know, we want to get back to normal business,” Trump said at the White House, adding that “we’re going to be opening the borders pretty soon” to take advantage of the renegotiated NAFTA.
“We’re working with Canada. We want to pick a good date, having to do with the pandemic. And I happen to think we’re rounding the turn,” Trump said.
Asked by CBC News to respond, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office pointed to a tweet from Public Safety Minister Bill Blair earlier in the day, saying the border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Oct. 21.
“We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Blair wrote.
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When CBC first reported on the extension of restrictions into October — they were due to expire this week — one source said Canadians should prepare for them to last even longer.
The official stopped short, however, of saying they would remain until Christmas, but that the policy was open to tweaks.
Three senior sources with direct knowledge of the situation, speaking to CBC News on condition they not be named, have repeatedly expressed — over recent months and again on Friday — how pleased they are with the current restrictions.
One source said both Canada and the U.S. see them as effective and as strong, co-operative measures necessary to respond to the pandemic.
Keeping Canadians safe
Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said last week that she speaks with U.S officials about the border restrictions on a weekly basis and there is a general agreement the current situation is working well.
“The measures are doing what they were designed to do … to allow the flow of commercial goods and essential services while controlling the spread of the virus and reduce the risk to our citizens on both sides,” Hillman said.
“When push comes to shove, our No. 1 goal is going to be to keep Canadians safe.”
Blair told reporters Wednesday that he’s looking to make adjustments to allow more travel on humanitarian grounds, but that any changes will be limited and that, broadly, he wants to keep the restrictions.
With COVID-19 caseloads still high in many U.S. states, public opinion surveys have also suggested there’s little appetite in Canada for change.
A new poll by Research Co. found earlier this month that out of 1,000 Canadians surveyed online at the end of August, 90 per cent agreed with the current restrictions.
The world’s longest international border has been closed to non-essential travel for months though essential workers — such as truck drivers and health-care professionals — are still able to cross by land. Canadians are also still able to fly to U.S. destinations.
Ottawa has also moved to curb the movement of Americans through Canada on their way to Alaska. U.S. travellers destined for the northern state have been limited to five crossings in Western Canada and they must commit to taking a direct route.
In June, a man travelling from Alaska to the continental United States was charged with violating Canada’s Quarantine Act. He was accused of twice failing to follow COVID-19 public safety rules while in Banff, Alta.
If he’s found to have violated a quarantine order, he could be fined up to $750,000 or sentenced to six months in jail.
75% of Canadians approve of another coronavirus shutdown if second wave hits: Ipsos – Global News
Canadians would largely be supportive of another widespread shutdown if a second wave of the coronavirus occurred, new polling from Ipsos suggests.
In a survey conducted on behalf of Global News, Ipsos found that 75 per cent of respondents would approve of quickly shutting down non-essential businesses in that scenario, with 37 per cent strongly supporting the idea.
About three quarters said they anticipated a second wave to hit their communities this fall.
The polling comes as Canada sees a dramatic resurgence in the virus, along with long lines for testing in some cities. In the last two weeks, the number of cases being reported across the country each day has risen by nearly 50 per cent.
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In her most recent update, Canada’s chief public health officer said the uptick was cause for concern.
“With continued circulation of the virus, the situation could change quickly and we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.
Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker said as case counts rise, support for lockdown measures similar to what we saw when the pandemic broke out in the spring will likely increase.
“People are really watching on a daily basis … (the) number of case counts going up, and they’re really worried,” he said.
The support shown for shutdown measures in Canada is in line with an international trend, Bricker said. Ipsos polling shows people in many countries are generally on board with the unprecedented measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, though Canadians tend to show stronger approval.
“There is, generally speaking, a fairly consistent view that we need to be careful, that this is a real problem, that they believe that shutdowns and controls are a way of dealing with it,” he said.
There were, however, some differences across the country when it comes to how well Canadians think their governments are prepared for a potential second wave.
Nationally, 71 per cent said they’re confident their province is ready, with 29 per cent disagreeing. But the proportion of those critical of their province’s ability to handle another wave of the virus was highest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, at 42 per cent.
Just under two thirds of Canadians are concerned about contracting the virus themselves. Even though those who are older are most at risk, the bigger difference was between genders, the polling revealed. Seventy-two per cent of women said they were concerned versus 55 per cent of men.
Bricker said that result is part of a larger pattern shown in health polling data more generally.
“They tend to pay less attention to their health,” he said of men. “They tend to be less concerned about things that are risky.”
The poll also looked at the issue of mandatory vaccination in the event a vaccine is developed and approved. Almost two thirds, or 63 per cent of those asked, said they thought the vaccine should be mandatory, a figure that is down nine points since July.
The survey was conducted between Sept. 11 and 14 — after the start of the school year for most Canadian families. There have already been outbreaks reported at schools in a few provinces.
Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said they felt schools were opening up too quickly, while about half — 53 per cent — said the speed of reopening has been just right.
This Ipsos poll was conducted between Sept. 11 and 14, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada adds nearly 1,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, highest daily increase since May 25 – Global News
Canada added 997 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, though the national case count increased by another 40 cases that were delayed in reporting.
The new cases bring the country’s total COVID-19 diagnoses to 141,789, while five new deaths linked to the virus bring the death toll to 9,205. A total of 123,715 patients have recovered from the coronavirus, while more than 7.6 million tests have been administered.
Friday’s increase stands as the highest uptick since May 25, which saw 1,010 new infections across Canada.
Daily reported cases of the virus continue to follow a sharp increase across Canada, with the new infections averaging at 849 new cases a day over the past week, according to Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
In a press conference Friday, Tam said that it was too soon to tell if Canadians were witnessing a long-warned second wave of the virus despite the sharp increase in cases.
“This situation increases the likelihood that we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels,” said Tam. “Now is the time for Canadians to redouble their efforts with personal precautions that will slow the spread of the virus.”
On Friday, president of the Public Health Agency of Canada Tina Namiesniowski also resigned amid the country’s growing case levels.
In a letter to staff released by the agency, Namiesniowski said that she wanted to take a break from her role and “step aside so someone else can step up” to co-ordinate Canada’s COVID-19 response.
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Ontario announced the highest increase in cases on Friday, with 401 new infections and no new deaths.
The new cases bring the province’s total case count to 46,077 while its death toll stands at 2,825.
Quebec added 297 cases of the virus, bringing its provincial total to 66,653. One new death was also recorded by the province, but health authorities say it had occurred at an unknown date.
The province’s death toll stands at 5,792 — the highest in Canada — while over 52,000 patients have recovered from the virus.
British Columbia added 179 new cases of the virus on Friday, though seven of those cases are considered “epidemiologically linked,” which refers to patients that are related to confirmed cases and show symptoms of the virus, but have not been formally tested.
Forty of the cases announced on Friday were also considered historical however, dating back to early August.
The cases bring British Columbia’s total lab-confirmed cases to 7,720, while the province’s death toll has been increased to 223 after three new deaths were reported.
Alberta reported 107 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total lab-confirmed cases to 16,381. Health authorities also added one additional death in the province, raising its total number of fatalities to 255.
Saskatchewan added 19 new cases of the virus on Friday, raising its total case count to 1,776. Twenty-four people have succumbed to the virus in the province, while another 1,639 patients have recovered.
Manitoba reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and no new deaths, raising the province’s total infections to 1,540. The province’s cases are comprised of an unknown number of infections considered probable, however.
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Manitoba’s death toll stands at 16, while another 1,199 patients have recovered.
Newfoundland and Labrador also reported one new case of the virus on Friday — its first new case in six days. A total of 272 people have been infected with COVID-19 there since the pandemic first began, while three have since succumbed to the virus.
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia reported zero new cases of the virus on Friday during their daily updates.
An extension of U.S.-Canada border closure, a deal which was set to expire Sept. 21, was also announced on Friday. The agreement will now extend the border closure to at least Oct. 21 — a closure that was first implemented to curb the spread of the virus.
Cases of the virus have now surpassed over 30.3 million worldwide, according to a running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. A total of 949,486 people have also died, with the United States, Brazil and India continuing to lead in both cases and deaths.
— With files from Global News’ Katie Dangerfield, Kalina LaFrambroise, Kerri Breen, Andrew Russell and The Canadian Press.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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