Canada’s health-care system is under increasing strain with a more than 20 per cent increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and intensive care unit patients over a one-week stretch, the country’s chief chief public health officer said Saturday.
Dr. Theresa Tam said an average of 1,268 people required intensive care each day for treatment of the illness during the week of April 16 to 22, though the average number of new daily cases fell by 2.6 per cent in that same period.
Tam said although COVID-19 activity remains elevated with a “high proportion” of cases involving more contagious variants of concern, officials are “cautiously optimistic” that strengthened restrictions are beginning to have an impact.
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Across the country, provincial health officials reported 286,263 new COVID-19 vaccinations were administered Saturday.
A total of 11,813,201 doses have now gone into the arms of Canadians.
Currently, 2.7 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
A total of 13,692,894 doses have been delivered so far with more than 86 per cent of them being used.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 7 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,172,013 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 86,374 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,927.
In British Columbia, the province has cancelled a “pop up” vaccine clinic planned by an exclusive West Vancouver country club. The Hollyburn Country Club had sent an email to members offering those born between 1956 and 1981 to be vaccinated with doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Alberta registered 1,592 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths on Saturday, while Saskatchewan tallied 286 new cases and two additional deaths.
Manitoba logged 276 new cases and three deaths.
On Friday, public health officials expanded vaccine eligibility to anyone over 18 in three at-risk Winnipeg neighbourhoods.
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Ontario reported 4,094 newcases and 24 additional deaths as the number of patients in intensive care units and on ventilators reached new highs.
Although the Ontario government has said it would prioritize vaccines in Toronto’s hardest-hit, lower-income areas, vaccine shortages at pop-up clinics have left many residents waiting in line for hours, only to be turned away.
Two Amazon fulfillment centres in Peel Region, west of Toronto, have partially closed under new regional rules that allow temporary shutdowns of workplaces with five or more COVID-19 cases over two weeks. Peel Public Health announced Saturday that the rule will be in effect for facilities in Brampton and Bolton for at least 10 days.
Quebec confirmed 1,106 new cases and 13 more deaths.
Prince Edward Island imposed new travel restrictions late Friday because of rising COVID-19 case numbers in the Atlantic region. People travelling within the Atlantic region on a same-day exemption from having to isolate for 14 days are the most affected.
The province on Saturday announced that it’s expanding vaccine eligibility to pregnant residents.
Nova Scotia recorded 52 new infections, its second-highest number of new daily cases since the start of the pandemic. Of Saturday’s cases, 44 of them are in the central health zone, which was placed under new restrictions on Friday.
The recent surge in the province has prompted two hospitals in the Halifax area to temporarily reduce elective surgeries.
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Newfoundland and Labrador added three new cases, while New Brunswick saw eight new infections and an additional death.
In Nunavut, two cases were identified in Rankin Inlet, linked to the outbreak in Iqaluit, according to the territory’s public health officer. In a statement issued Saturday morning, public health said both individuals landed in the community Friday night on Canadian North Flight 239.
In the Northwest Territories, three cases were confirmed in Yellowknife. Officials say the new cases are all travel-related.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday morning, more than 146.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at 3.1 million.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged all citizens to take COVID-19 vaccines and exercise caution, saying a “storm” of infections had shaken the country.
India has reported more than 300,000 new cases each day for the past four days, more than anywhere else in the world since the pandemic began, piling pressure on the public health system.
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“Our spirits were high after successfully dealing with the first wave,” Modi said in a radio address. “But this storm has shaken the nation.”
New Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday the city would continue to be under a lockdown until May 3.
In Japan, many of the country’s department stores, bars and theatres are being shuttered as part of emergency measures to slow a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The 17-day restrictions, starting on Sunday, were declared for Tokyo, Kyoto, Hyogo and Osaka, ahead of the “Golden Week” holidays.
Russia reported 8,780 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, including 2,526 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 4,762,569 since the start of the pandemic.
Russia’s coronavirus crisis centre said 332 more deaths of coronavirus patients had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the national death toll to 108,232.
The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and reported a toll of more than 225,000 from April 2020 to February 2021.