People line up at a COVID-19 testing clinic Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

People line up at a COVID-19 testing clinic Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canada’s total COVID-19 case count surpasses one million

Some provinces have introduced stricter public health measures in a bid to contain the spread of variants

Canada soared past its one millionth diagnosis of COVID-19 on Saturday, reaching the grim milestone the same day it administered its six millionth dose of vaccine to protect against the virus.

British Columbia pushed the nation over the threshold on Saturday afternoon when it reported 2,090 infections over the course of two days, bringing the national number to roughly 1,001,650.

Canada has been recording about 100,000 new cases every three to four weeks, surging past the 900,000 mark on March 13.

The nation had also administered six million doses of vaccine as of Saturday evening, provincial data show. The federal government had set that number as the goal for how many vaccine doses should arrive in Canada by the end of the first quarter of 2021 — a target it met last week.

The two milestones are emblematic of where the nation stands with COVID-19, ramping up its vaccination drive as more contagious variants of the virus fuel the pandemic’s third wave.

Alberta, for instance, is investigating what the province’s chief medical officer of health described as a “significant” outbreak of the P. 1 variant of concern, which first emerged in Brazil.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in a tweet that the outbreak can be traced back to a returning traveller.

“Health officials are working hard to limit future spread and reaching out directly to those at risk of exposure,” she said. “AHS will ensure that anyone at risk is isolated, offered testing twice and connected with supports if needed.”

Hinshaw said officials will provide an update on the investigation on Monday.

That province logged an estimated 1,100 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, roughly half of which are variants of concern.

Hinshaw said 35 per cent of the province’s active COVID-19 cases are due to those variants, which are more contagious and can cause more serious illness.

Some provinces have introduced stricter public health measures in a bid to contain the spread of such variants, with Ontario entering a “shutdown” on Saturday.

The new restrictions force gyms and personal care services across the province to close, but allow essential and non-essential retailers to remain open, with their capacities limited to 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

Schools in the province will also remain open for in-person learning following the delayed spring break, which ends on April 9.

Classrooms were shuttered throughout the province after the winter break in January and gradually reopened based on the local prevalence of COVID-19. The boards in hardest-hit hot spots opened classrooms in mid-February.

But the province has said it doesn’t want to take that step again, calling it disastrous for children’s mental health.

Ontario recorded 3,009 new infections on Saturday and 3,089 a day earlier, when the government didn’t share data because of the Good Friday holiday.

Quebec, meanwhile, has seen daily cases back up over the 1,000 mark in the last few days after weeks of logging new infection rates in the triple digits, recording 1,282 cases on Saturday.

And B.C., whose high numbers tipped Canada over the edge of one million, broke its own record two days in a row, reporting 1,072 diagnoses on Saturday and 1,018 on Friday.

The province’s chief medical officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix said people should stay in their own community or health authority while vacationing and consider limiting their travel to day trips or overnight stays in a local campground or hotel.

“We have seen too many cases of people travelling outside their health authority region and not using their layers of protection, leading to outbreaks and clusters in their home community,” they said in a written statement.

“These outbreaks are avoidable, and right now we must stay within our local region for the safety of your community and for others.”

Saskatchewan, meanwhile, counted 280 new cases on Saturday and Manitoba reported 181 over two days.

Farther east, New Brunswick recorded nine new cases and Nova Scotia counted four.

READ MORE: B.C. sets two new daily records with latest COVID-19 cases

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kira Stowell rode her way to first place in the senior pole bending event at the combined High School Rodeo in Quesnel in the only event of 2020. All regional high school events have been cancelled, although there are still hopes for provincials. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
High school rodeo events cancelled

Rodeos were planned for Williams Lake and Quesnel in early May

Responding to the layoffs announced at Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake this week, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Bruce Ralston said the ministry is working diligently to see the situation resolved as quickly as possible. (Taseko Mines photo)
Gibraltar Mine permit change consultation period extended to May 7, 2021: energy and mines minister

“We are working dilgently to see this resolved as quickly as possible,” minister said

Quesnel city council approved a pride crosswalk, similar to the one installed in Williams Lake in 2018. Williams Lake Pride supporters Denise Deschene, Charlotte Mortimer, Charlie Konopke (standing) and Pride interm president Chasity-Blu Wright were on hand to see it painted. (File Photo)
COUNCIL BRIEFS: A packed meeting

Quesnel city council was kept busy on April 20

Dawson Road Maintenance crews have been working on road base failures on Highway 20. (Dawson Road Maintenance Facebook photo)
ROAD REPORT: Dawson Road Maintenance provides update on Cariboo Chilcotin road conditions

Road bases still soft, saturated at multiple locations in Cariboo Chilcotin due to spring freshet

A Quesnel Volunteer Firefighter gets a hose on flames shooting from a house trailer completely engulfed in flames. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
WATCH: Fire crews respond to fire in North Quesnel

Emergency crews are on scene near Lear Road for what appears to be a residential fire

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read