Canadian health officials reported 4,676 new cases of the novel coronavirus across the country on Tuesday, pushing the total number of infections to 719,748.
Tuesday’s new case count was the lowest the country has seen since November of last year. The past several weeks have seen infections skyrocket to a seven-day average of over 8,000 earlier this month.
Another 147 people have also died since Monday after testing positive for the virus, bringing Canada’s death toll to 18,267.
To date, 628,591 people have recovered from COVID-19, while more than 20.6 million tests for the virus have been administered. More than 643,615 vaccine doses have been administered so far, according to covid19tracker.ca.
The news comes as Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine reduction plan goes into effect, resulting in a vaccine delivery holdup for Canada during the week of Jan. 25.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s vaccine logistics, confirmed the pause.
“We are now seeing that our entire expected shipment is deferred for next week, and then the numbers start to pick back up in the first weeks of February,” Fortin said on Tuesday.
Pfizer’s vaccine delays have prompted Quebec, the province hit hardest by COVID-19, to change its rollout plan, which will now aim to vaccinate 225,000 people by Feb. 8, rather than the initially planned 250,000.
“Do we like those delays? The answer is no,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters.
On Tuesday, the province reported an increase of 1,386 new cases and 55 deaths. So far, provincial health authorities have detected 245,734 cases of the virus and 9,142 people have died.
As a result of the vaccine delivery delays, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has made a plea to the U.S., asking President-elect Joe Biden to send doses to the province.
“My American friends, help us out. We need help once again, as we did with the (personal protective equipment). You have a new president, no more excuses,” Ford said.
“We need your support and we look forward to your support. And that’s a direct message to President(-elect) Biden. Help out your neighbour. You want us all to get along, hunky dory, kumbaya — help us out.”
Surging COVID-19 cases in Ontario have pushed the provincial total to 242,277 after 1,913 new infections were reported on Tuesday. Health officials confirmed 46 new deaths, bringing the province’s death toll to 5,479.
In Saskatchewan, health officials recorded 309 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the province’s overall number of infections to 20,871. They added six more people had died for a total of 225.
A majority of the province’s cases were reported within the last month, prompting strong remarks from Saskatchewan’s premier, Scott Moe.
“Enough is enough,” he said on Tuesday, adding that “it’s time” to start enforcing COVID-19 measures.
“We have kids in community after community across this province that are making this sacrifice, it’s time for all of us as adults to make the same sacrifice,” Moe said.
Manitoba reported 111 new infections and 11 more people had died. So far, the province has seen 27,740 confirmed cases and 783 deaths.
In Alberta, health officials said 456 more people had tested positive for the virus, bringing the provincial case count to 117,767.
They said 16 more people had died, moving the death toll to 1,463.
Twelve more people died from COVID-19 in British Columbia, for a total of 1,090 throughout the province. The province’s number of cases rose to 61,912 after 465 more cases were detected by provincial health authorities.
The Atlantic provinces saw 33 new cases and deaths, the bulk of which came from New Brunswick.
New Brunswick health officials said 31 more people had become infected with the virus on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,004. They added one more person had died, pushing the province’s death toll to 13.
The high number prompted New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell to move zones in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton areas to the province’s red-alert level of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Prince Edward Island added the remaining two new cases in the region.
There were two new cases reported in the Northwest Territories Tuesday. The three territories have seen a combined total of 364 infections and two deaths to date.
Globally, the virus has infected just over 96 million people, over two million of whom have died. The United States continues to lead the world in both cases, at 24.2 million, and deaths, with over 401,000.
–With files from Sean Boynton
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