Canada remains on a troubled path for new COVID-19 infections as the case count continues to rise, the country’s doctor said on Saturday.
The latest infection rates indicate that Canada is on track to reach up to 10,000 new cases a day in the next month, said Dr. Theresa Tam.
“If we continue at the current pace, our long-term models continue to predict significant increases in the daily case count and estimate that there may be up to 10,000 cases reported daily in mid-December,” said Tam in a written statement.
“Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively with public health officials to reduce the infection rate to a safer path.”
Canada is currently reporting a number of cases at about half that level, with the most recent seven-day average at 5,335 between 20 and 26 November.
Tam said Canada also has an average of 76 deaths per day and more than 2,100 people hospitalized.
People aged 80 and over are experiencing Canada’s highest COVID-19 mortality rate, and there are now more and bigger outbreaks in long-term care facilities, hospitals, group living environments, indigenous communities and remote areas, she said. .
“These developments are deeply worrying, as they put countless Canadians at risk for life threatening illnesses, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to handle complex medical emergencies,” said Tam.
His assessment came as the case count continued to increase in several provinces.
Quebec set a new record in a single day with 1,480 new infections on Saturday, while the death toll in the province exceeded the limit of 7,000.
Ontario recorded case numbers just before Friday’s one-day record, as reported 1,822 new diagnoses in the last 24 hours.
The number of cases has also risen sharply in Manitoba, where officials have registered 487 new infections and 10 new deaths.
Among those who died was a boy under the age of 10, officials said, although they offered no other details.
Saskatchewan reported 197 COVID-19 cases and one death on Saturday.
The province ordered the suspension of team sports earlier this week until December 17, after confirmed cases of COVID-19 among several smaller recreational hockey teams.
The Saskatchewan suspension applies to hockey and curling leagues and dance studios.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority issued warnings on Saturday of risks of exposure to COVID-19 at the curling and recreation centers in Christopher Lake and Shellbrook. Those who curl up or socialize at either of the two facilities last month are expected to isolate themselves for 14 days, the health official said.
In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced the closure of a primary school in Surrey after the confirmation of 16 COVID-19 cases.
Newton Elementary School will close for two weeks, Fraser Health said.
BC reported a daily record of 911 COVID-19 cases on Friday. The province will update its numbers on Monday.
People should continue to practice physical detachment, frequent hand washing and staying at home as much as possible, said a newly appointed member of British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan’s office.
“I just think it is important for us to be thoughtful and considerate, but at the same time it is essential that people follow the rules because it is vital to be able to keep our schools open and keep as much of our business open as possible,” said Ravi Kahlon , whose ministry includes economic recovery.
The numbers for New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador show more modest increases in four and two cases, respectively.
Prince Edward Island reported two new cases of COVID-19, but they involved young men between the ages of 10 and 19.
There were 14 new cases in Nova Scotia and five COVID-19 cases in Nunavut.
Tam redoubled his calls for Canadians to follow public health councils, limit their social interactions and practice physical detachment in an attempt to control the increase in the case count.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 28, 2020.