Hospitalizations for COVID-19 hit record highs in the Prairie provinces over the weekend as Alberta on Sunday reported more new daily cases than hard-hit Ontario or Quebec.
In Alberta — which reported 1,584 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday — health officials also reported 319 hospitalizations, with 60 in intensive care.
Premier Scott Moe, who has been facing pressure from some to step up restrictions, said Saturday that public health officials will “have more to say early next week.”
Today’s case numbers are very concerning. Our 7-day average for new cases is now 203 – the highest it’s ever been.<br><br>While it’s too soon for the new measures implemented last week to have made an impact, we’re continuing to evaluate the situation & will consider further measures.
Health officials in that province on Sunday listed 99 people as hospitalized, with 19 in intensive care.
Tracy Zambory, president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, said her organization has been calling for tighter measures.
“We cannot wait until we get to a higher number.”
In Manitoba, where health officials recently imposed strict restrictions to try and get a handle on rising case numbers, hospitalizations hit 288 on Sunday, with 52 in intensive care.
In an interview with CBC’s Rosemary Barton, Premier Brian Pallister defended his government’s response to COVID-19, which has been surging in Manitoba.
Pallister said the province has been focused on getting people to reduce their contacts, saying “that’s the key to getting in front of COVID and turning the curve.”
WATCH | Manitoba’s premier takes questions over his government’s handling of COVID-19:
What’s happening across Canada
As of 7:30 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 330,503, with 54,999 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 11,455.
Nunavut remained an area of concern as health officials in the territory reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases reported to 130.
“Health teams are working around the clock in Arviat, Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet to trace, test, isolate and contain the spread of the virus,” Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said in a statement on Sunday.
The Northwest Territories, meanwhile, had no new cases over the weekend.
In Yukon, health officials reported three more cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, saying two of the cases were linked to previously identified cases and one was linked to out-of-province travel.
Health officials in British Columbia don’t release updated COVID-19 figures over the weekend. The province reported 516 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the number of active cases to 7,122.
Lockdown begins in Toronto, Peel Region
In Central Canada, millions of residents in the Greater Toronto Area are now living under tight new restrictions as Toronto and Peel Region move into a lockdown period set to last at least 28 days. Non-essential stores in those regions will be closed to shoppers, and restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery.
Ontario reported 1,534 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, along with 14 new deaths associated with the virus. The province also said 484 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with 147 in intensive care.
In Quebec, health officials reported 1,154 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths. Data from the province put the number of hospitalizations at 642, with 103 in intensive care.
The province, which has seen the most cases of any jurisdiction in Canada, has reported more than 132,000 cases and 6,829 deaths.
Case numbers were also ticking upward in parts of Atlantic Canada, where a travel bubble between provinces has been in place for months.
Nova Scotia reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, it’s highest single day case number since May. New Brunswick reported six new cases on Sunday, after hitting a single-day record of 23 cases a day earlier.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, which reported three new cases on Sunday, the small town of Deer Lake sounded the alarm over a regional spike in cases when it announced a two-week closure of some municipal buildings and asked local businesses to follow suit.
The province has 21 active cases — the highest active case number the province has seen in months.
Premier Andrew Furey tweeted that he will be making an “important announcement” Monday morning.
Prince Edward Island, which has seen a total of 68 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, has just three active cases of the virus.
WATCH | Prioritizing access to COVID-19 vaccines in Canada:
What’s happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:30 a.m. ET
As of early Monday morning, there were more than 58.7 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, with more than 37.5 million of those cases considered recovered or resolved, according to a case tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
AstraZeneca says that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine was up to 90 per cent effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is easier to distribute than some of its rivals.
The results reported Monday are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca.
AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late stage results for its potential COVID-19 vaccine as public health officials around the world anxiously wait for vaccines that will end the pandemic that has killed almost 1.4 million people.
Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries. All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.
In the Americas, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he’s worried that crowding at airports from Thanksgiving travel could lead to a perilous situation as COVID-19 cases surge.
The U.S. infectious disease expert told Face the Nation on Sunday that the “people at airports” despite federal guidance to avoid travel “are going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.”
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1.047 million passengers on Sunday, the highest number since mid-March.
The number of U.S. air travellers is still about 60 per cent lower than the same date last year, but Sunday was the second time in three days that the number of passengers screened topped one million.
Health officials in Washington state said the number of people who were hospitalized to receive treatment for the coronavirus has reached a record high.
In Nevada, meanwhile, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced plans to tighten restrictions on casinos, restaurants and private gatherings such as Thanksgiving dinner in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
In Europe, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says a national COVID-19 vaccination plan will be launched in January.
Sanchez said the vaccine will be administered at 13,000 locations across Spain and “a very substantial part of the population” can be vaccinated in the first half of next year. Further details are expected on Tuesday.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong reported 73 new cases as the government warned the epidemic is rapidly worsening with silent transmission chains feared amid a rise in asymptomatic infections.
Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed half a million as the government of the world’s fourth most populous nation scrambles to procure vaccines to help it win the fight against the pandemic.
Pakistan’s government has warned that several “superspreader” gatherings in the country recently may force it to impose a full lockdown amid a spike in coronavirus cases.
In the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has announced a partial two-week lockdown to clamp down on the coronavirus’s spread as new cases have rapidly increased.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Monday that the West Bank will be under a full lockdown over the weekends, and a curfew will be imposed from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. on weekdays. All non-essential businesses will be closed during the periods of lockdown.
South Africa remained the hardest-hit country in Africa, with more than 767,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 21,000 deaths.
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