Canada’s COVID-19 caseload edged closer to the 200,000 mark on Sunday after a weekend in which Quebec had the majority of new infections, and public health officials urged Canadians to remain united in their efforts to combat the pandemic.
“Our challenge now and going forward is to remain united in our efforts to get all of Canada back on a ‘slow burn,”‘ Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Sunday in a statement.
“Our goal is to reduce cases of COVID-19 infection to manageable levels. But public health cannot do this alone. Everyone is needed on the front lines, from essential workers to volunteers to businesses, workplaces, and everyday citizens across Canada.”
Tam said individuals “can go the extra mile” by downloading the COVID Alert contact-tracing app or “sharing credible information” on COVID-19 risks and prevention measures via social media.
Her sentiments echoed those in a statement on Saturday, when she stressed the importance of a “collective effort,” even though the pandemic is affecting each part of the country differently.
The federal Conservatives on Sunday called for the House of Commons’ health committee to investigate Ottawa’s preparations for a second wave of COVID-19, with Tory health critic Michelle Rempel Garner accusing the Liberal government of being caught flatfooted, despite expectations that there would be a resurgence in the number of cases in the fall and winter.
“As businesses are closed in another series of COVID-related economic shutdowns, we are looking for answers as to why the federal government left Canadians unprepared to deal with this second wave,” Rempel Garner said during a news conference as MPs prepared for the resumption of Parliament on Monday.
“We need these answers so that we can move forward and keep Canadians safe while also keeping things open.”
What’s happening elsewhere in Canada
As of 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had 198,148 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 167,112 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,760.
In British Columbia, an outbreak has been declared at a meat-processing plant in Surrey. Fraser Health’s public health unit said in a statement on Sunday that 13 employees at J&L Beef Ltd. have tested positive to date.
Saskatchewan’s active caseload rose by 24 on Sunday. This is the second day in a row the province has set a new record high for active cases, now at 342.
There are 24 new cases of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19SK?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19SK</a> to report on October 18, bringing the total to 2,330 cases. <br><br>Of the 2,330 reported cases, 342 are considered active. A total of 1,963 people have recovered.<br><br>Learn more at <a href=”https://t.co/emuRaznWXd”>https://t.co/emuRaznWXd</a>. <a href=”https://t.co/JZbNGAfVoJ”>pic.twitter.com/JZbNGAfVoJ</a>
Manitoba said on Sunday two more people have died and there are 44 new cases in the province.
Starting Monday, retailers in Winnipeg and surrounding communities will have their occupancy limited to 50 per cent. Gatherings will be capped at just five people. In addition, casinos and bars will be forced to close under measures that will last for at least two weeks.
Ontario announced 658 new infections and five deaths.
Tighter COVID-19 restrictions come into effect in York Region, north of Toronto, starting Monday, when movie theatres, gyms and indoor dining rooms will have to close for 28 days. The region joins Ottawa, Peel Region and Toronto in reverting to a modified version of Stage 2 measures.
Toronto Western Hospital has declared a COVID-19 outbreak. The University Health Network confirmed today that 3 patients and 6 staff members within 2 different units had contracted the virus as of Friday. <a href=”https://t.co/YAQcT3FHNk”>https://t.co/YAQcT3FHNk</a>
Quebec reported 1,094 new cases and six deaths on Sunday.
The province is currently more than halfway through a 28-day period of restrictions on social gatherings in three regions, including Montreal and Quebec City. Bars and restaurant dining rooms have been closed, along with movie theatres and gyms.
New Brunswick reported its third death on Sunday. The individual was a resident of the Notre-Dame Manor, a special care home in Moncton with an ongoing outbreak of the virus. The resident was between the ages of 60 and 69, according to Public Health.
Nova Scotia reported two travel-related cases on Sunday. One person was travelling from within Canada but outside the Atlantic bubble, and the other was coming from international travel, a provincial spokesperson said.
Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday reported no new cases for the second straight day.
What’s happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 39.7 million. More than 1.1 million people have died, while more than 27.3 million have recovered.
In Europe, the number of confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Italy continued to rise to new records on Sunday, hitting 11,705 in the last 24 hours. Many more tests are being carried out than during the March-April peak, when only the very ill were tested, but doctors have warned that the virus is again infecting more vulnerable patients, and hospitals are increasingly under stress.
In Asia, India has added 61,871 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to about 7.5 million. Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.
In the Americas, Bolivia is holding mandatory in-person presidential elections on Sunday, even though it has been hard-hit by the pandemic. Nearly 8,500 Bolivians have died of the disease, giving it one of the highest fatality rates per capita in the world.
In Africa, South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize, and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19, his office said late on Sunday. South Africa, which has seen more than 700,000 infections, accounts for the majority of the continent’s more than 1.6 million confirmed cases.