- Quebec, Ontario and Alberta report record increase in new cases Saturday.
- Chief public health officer warns of ‘long road ahead,’ despite upcoming vaccine rollout.
- Manitoba sees 19 more deaths, most reported in a single day.
- Court rules Winnipeg church can’t hold drive-in service amid restrictions.
- Alberta top doctor says rural cases rising as premier points finger at cities.
- Hospitals in U.K. set to launch vaccine program this week.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca
The COVID-19 pandemic in Canada continued to set record-high daily rates of infection on Saturday, with three provinces reporting their highest 24-hour spikes.
Ontario and Alberta each reported over 1,800 new cases, while Quebec saw more than 2,000 for the first time.
More than 6,300 new COVID-19 cases were reported across the country along with 93 more deaths.
There is still a “long road ahead” in the battle to contain the virus, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said in her daily update on Saturday, but she added that an initial vaccine supply is expected to be available to Canadians early next year.
WATCH | CBC medical contributor answers your COVID-19 questions:
“There is some good news on the horizon,” she said. “An initial supply of vaccines is expected to become available in early 2021 and although supply will be limited at the outset, Canada is well-positioned to provide access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all Canadians.”
“We don’t have a COVID-19 vaccine just yet and we must be prepared to address a range of logistical and operational challenges,” she said.
“Canada must continue with the collective effort of individuals and public health authorities to sustain the response, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences.”
Procurement Minister Anita Anand said this week that information will be shared with Canadians once it’s certain, but that dates will depend on when Health Canada approves the vaccine and other factors such as shipment and storage necessities.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 6 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 408,921, with 71,450 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,589.
In British Columbia, the Vancouver Canucks parted ways with their longtime national anthem singer, Mark Donnelly, in response to reports he will be singing at a rally organized by COVID-19 deniers and anti-mask advocates.
Alberta reported a record 1,879 new cases on Saturday. The province also said 563 people are being treated in hospital, including 101 in ICU.
Meanwhile, Premier Jason Kenney said tougher restrictions will likely be aimed at Calgary and Edmonton, just hours after Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, reported a concerning rise in rates in rural areas. She stressed that even one case can move like wildfire, and COVID-19 doesn’t respect geographical boundaries.
WATCH | Hinshaw asks rural Albertans to follow restrictions:
Saskatchewan reported 202 new COVID-19 cases. Nearly 4,200 cases are considered active, 116 of which are in hospital and 25 of which are receiving intensive care. Provincial officials haven’t reported any new virus-related deaths on Saturday, leaving that total at 55.
Manitoba said a record 19 more people have died of COVID-19. The province also announced 354 new cases and said there are now 349 people in hospital, including 51 in intensive care.
Also on Saturday, a court ruled that a Winnipeg church will not be exempt from public health orders and is not permitted to hold drive-in worship services. Springs Church and two of its pastors have been fined more than $32,000 for allowing the services, which are banned under Manitoba’s current public health order aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
In northern Manitoba, the Canadian Armed Forces says it will be on hand to support the Shamattawa First Nation as cases skyrocket in the community.
The <a href=”https://twitter.com/CanadianForces?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CanadianForces</a> will always be there to help in times of need. In response to Shamattawa First Nations request for assistance, the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CAF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CAF</a> will be on hand to support their <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a> efforts in Northern Manitoba. <a href=”https://t.co/7WJ2kcZEUH”>https://t.co/7WJ2kcZEUH</a>
Ontario reported a record 1,859 new cases, along with 20 more deaths. The number of patients in Ontario hospitals with the novel coronavirus has climbed to 709. Of that number, 202 are being treated in intensive care. Some 116 are on ventilators.
Quebec reported a record 2,031 new cases, as well as 48 more deaths. Hospitalizations decreased slightly to 754, while patients in intensive care dropped by one to 96. The number of new cases appears to be driven by increases in Montreal (630 cases) and Quebec City (304 cases). The province initially reported that the total increase was the result of testing from the previous 24 hours, but the figure appears to also include cases from earlier in the week.
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick reported two new cases; Newfoundland and Labrador posted four new cases; Nova Scotia added six infections; and Prince Edward Island saw its caseload rise by three.
In the North, Nunavut reported eight new cases — all in the hard-hit community of Arviat. The territory has recorded a total of 214 cases, of which 158 have recovered, and no deaths so far.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday morning, there were more than 66.6 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 42.8 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 more than 1.5 million.
In Europe, Britain’s rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is set to begin on Tuesday. The vaccine will initially be made available at 50 hospitals in England, for people aged 80 and over, as well as long-term care and hospital workers.
Russia reported a record high of 29,039 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the national total to 2,460,770 since the pandemic began. Authorities confirmed 457 deaths related to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, pushing the official national death toll to 43,141.
In the United Sates, North Carolina reported a record increase in cases of the novel coronavirus and hospitalizations on Saturday. The state reported 6,018 cases since Friday and 2,171 people with the respiratory illness in hospitals.
“In less than a week, we went from exceeding 5,000 new cases reported in one day to exceeding 6,000,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s health secretary. “This is very worrisome. This indicates we have even more viral spread across our state right now.”
Arizona health officials used a blunt tone Saturday as the state reported 6,799 coronavirus cases, the second-highest daily increase.
The state’s department of health services said on Twitter that people should wear masks “around anyone who isn’t a member of your household, even those you know and trust.”
The United States continues to struggle with the world’s highest rate of COVID-19 infection. With over 14 million total cases, the virus became the leading cause of death across the U.S. in the past week.