- New restrictions for Winnipeg to begin Monday after Manitoba reports record number of new cases.
- Ontario and Quebec both reporting over 1,000 new cases of infection.
- Canadians must reduce contacts by 25 per cent to reduce COVID-19 transmission, says top doctor.
- Alberta reports dramatic increase in new cases compared with the last 10 days.
- U.S. surpasses 9 million cases of COVID-19.
- U.K. could see new lockdown in days as virus cases surge.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca.
The latest federal modelling on COVID-19 suggests the surge in cases could continue in the coming weeks unless Canadians take action now, which has prompted a new warning from the country’s chief public health officer.
Dr. Theresa Tam on Friday said that based on the current projections, Canadians need to cut their contacts by 25 per cent in order to get the second wave under control to the point where daily counts may drop below 2,000.
Without reducing the rates of contact, Canada could see COVID-19 case counts rise to 8,000 per day come early December, she said.
On Friday, Canadian health officials reported a record-breaking number of new cases, totalling 3,457.
WATCH | Keep Halloween activities outdoors, says infectious diseases specialist:
Tam said the country has lost its lead in the ongoing “dance” with COVID-19 after curbing cases over the summer, and taking it back will require discipline.
“What comes next for us this fall and winter is for every one of us to determine through our decisions and our actions,” Tam told a news conference. “Letting down our guard and letting this virus win is not an option.”
Large increases in infections were reported Friday in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
Manitoba saw its highest single-day spike with 480 new cases on Friday. Winnipeg is being placed under “red alert” pandemic restrictions, starting Monday.
WATCH | Winnipeg faces more restrictions due to COVID-19 surge:
That means bars and restaurants will only be allowed to offer takeout and delivery. Most retail stores will be limited to 25 per cent capacity. Movie theatres must close, and sports and recreation programming will be suspended. In the rest of the province restaurants, bars and stores will be limited to half capacity.
Religious services will be capped at 15 per cent in the Winnipeg region and 20 per cent elsewhere. Public gatherings across the province will be capped at five people — a restriction that was recently implemented in the Winnipeg region only.
The restrictions are to be in place for at least two weeks and will be reassessed at that time, said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer.
The new measures were announced as 12 doctors in the province published a letter on Friday in the Winnipeg Free Press directed toward the premier and health minister, stating it’s time for a provincewide shutdown.
What’s happening in the rest of Canada
As of 11:20 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 234,083 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases, with 28,230 of those active. Provinces and territories listed 195,719 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,134.
Ontario reported 1,015 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, up from 896 cases added to the count on Friday. Locally, there are 325 new cases in Toronto on Saturday, 282 in Peel Region, 94 in Ottawa and 88 in York Region.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his children will not be trick-or-treating this year because Ottawa is considered one of Ontario’s hot spots.
The province has recommended against going door-to-door for candy in the modified Stage 2 public health unit regions of Ottawa, Peel Region, Toronto and York Region.
In Quebec, children can go out as long as they stay with members of their own household. Health officials in British Columbia are recommending people keep their trick-or-treating groups to six people or fewer.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday said a plan is coming next week to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the province’s hot spots.
Ford said he has asked his health advisers to put together a strategy to allow shuttered businesses in the regions to safely reopen.
Restrictions that banned indoor dining in restaurants and bars and closed gyms were put in place in the so-called hot spots on Oct. 10. The measures were intended to be in place for 28 days and are set to expire next Saturday.
Ford could not provide any details of the plan or say how the plan would impact restaurants and gyms.
In Peel Region, the city of Brampton is not helping the cause. Its weekly test positivity rate rose to 9.6 per cent for the week ending Oct. 24, according to a Peel Health Surveillance report published on Friday.
This represents a 1.5-point increase from the previous week, when Brampton sat at 8.1 per cent positivity. This is well above the five per cent benchmark used by infectious disease experts to signal the virus could be under control.
Brampton’s positivity rate is two-and-a-half times higher than the national figure.
WATCH | Gym owners, patrons frustrated by renewed COVID-19 closures:
In Alberta, health officials reported a record number of new cases in a single day on Friday, with 622 new infections. There are currently 140 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Alberta, with 25 of them in intensive care. The Edmonton and Calgary health zones have about 2,000 cases each.
New Brunswick reported one new COVID-19 case and three recoveries on Friday.
That comes a day after the province reported four new confirmed cases, declared an outbreak at a special care home in Balmoral and announced new isolation rules for people who travel outside the Atlantic bubble for work.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases on Friday for the fourth straight day. Three active cases remain in the province.
Nova Scotia reported five new cases on Saturday, up from two additional cases on Friday, when officials in the province said the state of emergency would be renewed. The emergency status will begin at noon on Nov. 1 and run until Nov. 15, unless the province extends it.
Saskatchewan reported 76 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, with 34 of those cases coming from the Saskatoon area. There are currently 22 people in hospital, with 16 of those receiving in-patient care.
A public health order on nightclubs is now in effect in Saskatoon, where drinking alcohol is barred between 10 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. CST, and they are required to close between 11 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. Karaoke and dance floors have been closed at the clubs, where guests are to be seated and cannot mingle between tables.
Two medical experts told CBC News they’re worried that the number of new infections will overwhelm the province’s health system.
British Columbia announced in a written public statement another 272 cases of COVID-19 on Friday and one additional death. There are currently 2,390 active cases in the province.
Three new outbreaks at health-care facilities were announced by health officials, who also reminded residents not to hold large parties over the Halloween weekend.
What’s happening around the world
A database maintained by Johns Hopkins University put the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases reported around the world since the pandemic began at more than 45.6 million as of Saturday morning, with more than 29.7 million of those listed as recovered. The death toll reported by the U.S.-based university stood at more than 1.1 million.
In Britain, the government is considering imposing a new national lockdown in England, after its scientific advisers warned that hospitalizations and deaths from the resurgence of the coronavirus could soon surpass the levels seen at the outbreak’s spring peak.
The Times of London says Prime Minister Boris Johnson could announce a month-long lockdown as soon as Monday, though the government says no decisions have been made. Any new lockdown would likely see non-essential businesses close and people told to stay mostly at home, though schools would remain open.
The U.K. is recording more than 20,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and government statisticians say the true figure is far higher. On Saturday the country is likely to surpass one million confirmed cases since the outbreak began. The U.K. has Europe’s highest coronavirus death toll at more than 46,000.
India has registered 48,268 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, continuing a downward trend.
The country’s Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 551 additional deaths, taking total fatalities up to 121,641. The figure raises the country’s total virus tally to more than 8.1 million, behind only the U.S. Over 7.4 million people have recovered.
The slowdown in daily infections has held for more than a month, with fewer than 60,000 cases for nearly two weeks. Some experts say the trend suggests the virus may have finally reached a plateau in India, but others question the testing methods and warn that a major festival due in a few weeks and the winter season could result in a new surge.
In Sri Lanka, police have, for the first time, arrested dozens of people for not wearing masks and failing to maintain physical distancing, under the new laws imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Police spokesperson Ajith Rohana said 39 people were detained, and separately, another 221 were held for violating a curfew.
Since Thursday, the Sri Lankan government has imposed a curfew in the whole of Western province, where new outbreaks at a garment factory and the main fish market were discovered early this month. The province includes the capital Colombo.
Infections from the two clusters have grown to 6,945 by Saturday, including 633 in the last 24 hours, bringing to more than 10,000 the number of confirmed cases in the island nation, including 19 deaths.
WATCH | COVID-19 long-haulers share experience with prolonged symptoms:
The United States now has nine million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins, as infections continue to rise in nearly every state.
It took two weeks to reach the mark from eight million, the fastest jump of one million yet. It had taken more than three weeks for the total to rise from seven million to eight million.
Confirmed U.S. cases are on the rise in 47 states. Deaths are up 14 per cent over the past two weeks, averaging more than 800 every day. The virus has now killed more than 229,000 Americans.
South Dakota broke its record for new coronavirus infections reported in one day on Friday as 1,560 people tested positive.
The new virus cases brought the number of cases statewide to 13,520, according to the state’s Department of Health. That means that roughly one out of every 65 people currently has an active infection.
The state has ranked second in the nation for new cases per person over the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. There were about 1,359 new cases per 100,000 people.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday – CBC.ca
- Ontario reports 1,822 new COVID-19 cases, 29 more deaths.
- Officials say majority of Canadians could be vaccinated by next September.
- Federal government to enlist the military to help with vaccine distribution.
- Manitoba hospital ICUs operating over capacity due to rise in COVID-19 cases.
- Nearly 100 cases of infection reported at Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre.
- Alberta again breaks records for hospitalizations, ICU patients.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca
Ontario added another 1,822 cases of COVID-19 to its total on Saturday, a day after recording its highest single-day count of 1,855.
The province also reported 29 new deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus after recording 20 deaths on Friday, when health officials said they had completed just over 58,000 tests — the most the province has ever conducted in one day.
Despite the growing number of cases, a majority of Canadians could be inoculated against COVID-19 by September 2021 “if all goes according to plan,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday. It’s important the vaccine reaches all Canadians “no matter where they live,” he said.
Trudeau said as Canada prepares for “the biggest immunization exercise in the country,” it will enlist the help of a former NATO commander to lead the distribution effort.
WATCH | Ottawa outlines its COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan:
Trudeau named Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead the military’s role in co-ordinating logistics, which include cold storage requirements, data sharing and reaching Indigenous communities.
The prime minister said the federal government has already purchased freezers capable of storing vaccine doses at -70 C.
WATCH | Senior military commander to lead vaccine distribution:
Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said as many as six million doses could be deployed in the first three months of 2021. Each patient will need two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, which Health Canada says could win approval next month because its review is in the most advanced stage out of the three leading candidates.
Federal officials warned that any timelines are uncertain and emphasized that no vaccine has been approved for use in Canada.
WATCH | Ontario prepares vaccine plan amid record-high new cases:
Quebec reported 1,269 new COVID-19 infections and 38 more deaths linked to the virus on Friday, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.
Federal data showed that as of Friday, Alberta had the highest seven-day infection rate in Canada with 209 cases per 100,000 people.
Friday was the last day of in-school classes for junior and senior high school students across Alberta. Students in grades 7 to 12 are all being shifted to remote learning until Jan. 11, in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The province’s new measures also ban indoor social gatherings, limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people, restrict access to some businesses and make masks mandatory at indoor workplaces in Edmonton and Calgary.
Kaycee Madu, Alberta’s minister of justice and solicitor general, said Friday that the province is empowering 700 more peace officers to help enforce COVID-19 public health orders.
Fines for breaking the rules can range from $1,000 to $100,000 in extreme cases that end up in court, Madu said.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 10:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 360,889, with 60,954 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 11,923.
Manitoba announced 349 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 14 more deaths, the province’s second-deadliest day of the pandemic to date. Intensive care units across the province are operating at 152 per cent of their pre-COVID-19 capacity. A record high 322 people are in hospital with the illness, including 45 patients in ICUs.
WATCH | Manitoba’s top health official on recent COVID-19 deaths:
Officials overseeing the pandemic response on Manitoba’s First Nations say 630 new cases were identified over the last week alone. Nine new deaths were reported, bringing the total to 36.
The province announced stricter COVID-19 measures last week that prohibit businesses from selling non-essential items in stores and further restricted capacity at large retailers.
I repeat the same message daily. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StayHome?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StayHome</a>.<br>This it is the action that matters the most right now. Only go out for essential reasons.
The new public health orders also prohibit people from having anyone inside their home who doesn’t live there, with few exceptions.
British Columbia announced a single-day record on Friday with 911 cases of COVID-19.
The latest update also includes a new record of 301 patients in hospital with COVID-19, including 69 in critical care.
Earlier Friday, the Vancouver International Airport announced a pilot project in which volunteer travellers are enlisted to take COVID-19 rapid tests before departing on their domestic flights.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, appealed for people to respect store and restaurant employees as she referred to recent confrontations by aggressive customers who refused to wear masks at indoor public places.
“If you are opposed to wearing a mask, then I ask you to shop online, order takeout or stay outside or stay home and not put other people at risk,” she said.
Eleven more people have died in B.C., bringing the number of fatalities to 395, while a record 301 patients are in hospital.
WATCH | New mask mandate in B.C. a point of contention for some:
Prince Edward Island did not reported any new cases on Friday. Starting Monday, masks will be mandatory for staff and students in Grades 10-12 at all times inside a school building, including while sitting at their desks, with exemptions made for situations such as eating or drinking.
Nunavut reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. The territory, which saw its first confirmed case earlier this month, has now seen a total of 159 cases.
The Nunavut government said it plans to spend $1 million toward community food programming, including extra funding for communities affected by the pandemic.
The Northwest Territories reported no new cases on Friday. There have been 15 confirmed cases in the territory since the start of the pandemic, all since recovered.
Yukon reported three new cases late Friday for a total of 45 since the pandemic began.
WATCH | Mental health biggest concern in Nunavut lockdown, community food centre exec says:
Saskatchewan reported 329 new cases and four deaths on Friday. Along with 208 recoveries, that brought the number of active cases to 3,263.
The Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre now has 99 cases of COVID-19 — 80 offenders and 19 staff.
WATCH | Some First Nations in Alberta now experiencing 1st wave of COVID-19:
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday morning, there were more than 61.7 million cases of COVID-19 recorded worldwide, with more than 39.5 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.
South Korea reported more than 500 new coronavirus cases for the third-straight day on Saturday, the fastest spread of infections the country has seen since the early days of the pandemic.
The recent spike in infections came after the government eased physical-distancing restrictions to the lowest levels in October to support a weak economy, allowing high-risk venues such as nightclubs and karaoke bars to reopen and spectators to return to sports.
Officials reimposed some of the restrictions this week and could be forced to clamp down on economic activities further if transmissions don’t slow.
India‘s coronavirus infections dipped further with 41,322 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, and there were no signs of a resurgence as a result of a major festival two weeks ago.
The high point of new infections this week was 44,739 on Wednesday. Single-day cases have remained below the 50,000-mark for three weeks.
In the United Kingdom, the government is warning lawmakers who oppose strict coronavirus restrictions that the measures are the only way to avoid a surge that will overwhelm the health system.
A four-week national lockdown in England is due to end Wednesday and will be replaced by three-tier regional measures that restrict business activity, travel and socializing. The vast majority of the country is being put into the upper two tiers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces opposition from dozens of his own Conservative Party’s legislators, who say the economic damage outweighs the public health benefits. Some say they will vote against the measures in Parliament on Tuesday.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the measures were “grimly” necessary. Writing in the Times of London, he said there are currently 16,000 coronavirus patients in British hospitals, not far below the April peak of 20,000. Gove said a rise in infections would mean coronavirus patients would “displace all but emergency cases. And then even those.”
Britain has had Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 57,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
What Canadians need to know about COVID-19 before gathering over the holidays – CBC.ca
This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.
Canadians considering gathering with loved ones over the holidays this year need to come to terms with some harsh realities.
But COVID-19 is insidious, an unwanted guest that can slip in unnoticed and wreak havoc despite our best efforts to control it.
“We have to ask ourselves honestly, must we socialize? And the answer is probably no,” said Raywat Deonandan, a global health epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa.
“There is no way to eliminate risk except not to do it in the first place.”
But we’ve learned a lot more about how COVID-19 spreads since it first emerged at the beginning of this year, which can help inform us on where we’re most at risk.
Confusion over holiday guidelines
There’s understandably a lot of confusion about what sorts of holiday gathering might be reasonable to consider this year, especially since depending on where you live in this country the rules and recommendations differ.
The official advice from Canada’s chief public health officer is to avoid large gatherings, non-essential travel and to keep things as small as possible within your household.
Certain provinces, like Ontario, recommend skipping extended family gatherings altogether and taking precautions like self-isolating for 10 to 14 days for those travelling home from away, including colleges and universities.
While others, like Quebec, have put a lot of faith in their population by allowing gatherings of up to 10 people for four days over the holidays after a seven day period of self-imposed quarantine.
But Deonandan says we can’t necessarily rely on people to completely self-isolate on their own — that requires not leaving home for groceries, essential items or even to walk the dog.
WATCH | Dr. Theresa Tam advises no large gatherings or non-essential travel
“You’re also going to have outliers who have infectious periods longer than two weeks,” he said.
“If enough people do this, you’re going to get a sufficient number of people who do not fall under that umbrella who are indeed infectious and who start outbreaks.”
Silent spread a ‘key driver’ of outbreaks
While we weigh whether it’s even possible to gather safely with friends and family in a pandemic, it’s important to keep in mind the unseen dangers we could be inviting in — even in parts of the country that have low rates of COVID-19.
“The problem with this virus is that it’s like many other viruses,” said Dr. Allison McGeer, a medical microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai hospital who worked on the front lines of the SARS epidemic in 2003. “You shed virus before you get sick and some people who get infected don’t develop symptoms.”
“That’s why what has worked is everybody wearing masks and everybody maintaining social distance, because you can’t tell who the next infected person is going to be.”
McGeer says viruses like influenza, chickenpox and measles typically present symptoms in the body before people are infectious — but the virus behind COVID-19 is different.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated scientific guidance this week that acknowledged asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals account for more than half of all COVID-19 transmissions.
“Silent transmission is one of the key drivers of outbreaks,” said Seyed Moghadas, a professor of applied mathematics and computational epidemiology at Toronto’s York University.
“There is an incorrect notion in the general population that if someone feels fine then they are not infected. A person can certainly be infected, infectious, and feel completely fine.”
Moghadas, the lead author of a study published in the journal PNAS on the silent spread of COVID-19 that was cited in the CDC guidelines, says this underscores how difficult the virus is to control, a challenge “magnified” in close quarters.
In Nova Scotia, which has successfully contained the spread of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic despite the bursting of the Atlantic bubble this week, catching those silent spreaders before they unknowingly infect others is key.
Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist at Dalhousie University, has partnered with public health authorities in a pilot project to use rapid COVID-19 tests on people without symptoms in high-traffic areas of Halifax.
It’s only been a few days, but what they’ve found was surprising.
On the first day they tested 147 people and found one asymptomatic case, the second day they tested 604 more and found another one, and on the third day they did 804 tests and found five more.
“We recognized that there are a lot of people out there, even if they’re doing the right thing, that don’t know they’re infected, don’t know they’re infectious and could be spreading to other people,” said Barrett.
“When there’s community spread of a virus that has a long period of time when you can be infectious without symptoms, you have to test broadly in the community or you have no idea what’s going on.”
‘A negative test is not a license to socialize’
One novel approach to avoid meeting with loved ones while unknowingly infectious that has emerged is to get a COVID-19 test beforehand to pre-emptively detect it.
But the timing of that test is incredibly important and there’s a lot of room for error, so it may be a less effective strategy than it first appears.
A new study in the journal Science looked at 1,178 people infected with COVID-19 and more than 15,000 of their close contacts to determine when people were most infectious.
It found most of the transition — 87 per cent — happened in a fairly wide window of time, up to five days before or after symptoms appeared, while 53 per cent was in the pre-symptomatic phase.
“It’s possible to be early in the disease cycle such that you won’t detect any viral presence. But in two days suddenly you’re infectious and now we’re screwed,” said Deonandan, at the University of Ottawa.
“So a negative test is not a license to socialize.”
Still, Deonandan says there will be people who are going to socialize anyway, so it’s better they do so with precautions in place like testing and self-isolating than nothing — even if those precautions aren’t perfect.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the winter solstice, Canadians are being told to consider meeting virtually, avoid risky indoor gatherings without masks and instead find ways to connect while still physical distancing.
“I think the pitch to people is that yes, we’re used to having time off school and we’re used to seeing everybody,” said McGeer. “But this is the year to delay.”
WATCH | Tam on the holiday season and how the pandemic won’t go on forever
“The best advice this year is maybe not to go too far from home,” said Barrett. “Is it worth it to lose control of the virus?”
“We’re hanging on by a thread here. Please don’t let that thread break.”
To read the entire Second Opinion newsletter every Saturday morning, subscribe by clicking here.
Trudeau expects most Canadians could be vaccinated by September 2021 – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Cassanda Szklarski, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, November 27, 2020 12:34PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 27, 2020 1:32PM EST
Beset by ongoing questions about Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to assuage the public with assurances most Canadians could be inoculated by September 2021, with distribution led by a former NATO commander.
Trudeau faced a barrage of questions about when and how such a rollout would unfold at a morning press conference on Friday, acknowledging public anxiety amid alarming infection rates and hospitalizations that have already scuttled holiday hopes for much of the country.
But while promising vaccine news offered “light at the end of the tunnel,” Trudeau said “we must hold on a little longer.”
“What really matters is when we get across the finish line … The fact that the doctors highlighted that if all goes according to plan, we should be able to have the majority of Canadians vaccinated by next September, puts us in very good stead,” he said, offering the government’s most specific timeline yet.
“We’re going to continue to do everything we can to deliver for Canadians, listening to experts working with top people to make sure that we’re doing this right, and quickly and safely.”
Trudeau said Canada has turned to Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead distribution and handle logistics that include cold storage requirements, data sharing, and reaching Indigenous communities. He insisted Ottawa was committed to working with the provinces and territories on securing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible.
That wasn’t good enough for Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who later Friday roasted Trudeau for failing to give provinces and territories specific information they need for a potential vaccine launch.
Ford said a conference call Trudeau held with premiers Thursday night was sorely lacking.
“I didn’t get the answer we wanted to hear, none of the premiers got the answer they wanted to hear,” said Ford, who appeared at a Friday press conference alongside the new head of the Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force, retired Gen. Rick Hillier.
“I can’t emphasize enough to the prime minister: The clock is ticking. We’re going to be hopefully getting these vaccines sometime – again, hopefully – in January. I asked him the three simple questions: When are we getting it? What type of vaccine are we getting? And how much of that vaccine are we getting? To have Gen. Hillier make a proper plan, we need to know.”
Ontario called on the federal government to immediately disclose its allocation plan, noting reports that other countries have already announced plans to receive doses.
U.S. officials have said 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine could reach some priority citizens within 24 hours of regulatory clearance, while Moderna’s vaccine could be available by the end of the year, although the general public likely wouldn’t get doses until the spring.
No matter when a vaccine arrives in Canada, Hillier said Ontario’s vaccine distribution plans would be ready on Dec. 31.
In Ottawa, Procurement Minister Anita Anand also faced questions over a precise delivery date but insisted she is in constant contact with suppliers to make sure they can be deployed as soon as they are approved for use.
“This is a complex process. This is an uncertain environment. But we are on top of it,” said Anand.
“I personally will make sure that we have vaccines in place in Canada when Health Canada has provided the regulatory approval.”
Trudeau‘s September timeline was echoed by deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo, who had last week suggested the possibility of a fall goal line for vaccinating the majority of Canadians.
Njoo said Friday the Prime Minister’s prediction is “in the same ballpark” as previous rollout plans, and a good target to work towards.
But he cautioned there are still “a lot of unknowns.”
“Certainly we’ve always been sort of optimistic, cautiously optimistic, about what the vaccination rollout will look like,” said Njoo.
“Right now it’s a bit of a moving target. We have two vaccines which are very promising but they’re still in the process of going through the regulatory process. If all goes well, and they are approved, then they’re the first two out of the pipeline.”
The news follows more alarming daily COVID-19 case numbers from Ontario, which reported a record 1,855 new cases, and 20 more deaths on Friday.
Quebec reported 1,269 new COVID-19 infections and 38 more deaths linked to the virus, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.
Ottawa has finalized agreements with five vaccine makers and is in advanced negotiations with two more.
The deals would secure 194 million doses with the option to buy another 220 million, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.
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