Twenty-six more coronavirus patients have died in Canada, and 2,579 new cases of the virus have been recorded.
The increases announced Friday bring the cumulative national case total to 211,512, though more than 177,000 people have recovered, according to provincial statistics. The number of COVID-19-positive people in Canada who have died stands at 9,888.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, said the number of people experiencing severe cases of the virus is on the rise. An average of 1,000 Canadians are in hospital daily, she said, with more than 200 in critical care.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $214 million to support “made in Canada” coronavirus vaccine research.
At a press conference in Ottawa, he also shed some light on who might be first in line to receive an immunization once a product is proven to be effective and safe.
Trudeau said the “reasonable expectation” is that vaccines could arrive sometime in the new year, but initially there will be smaller amounts available and the shots would be going to priority groups first.
“I think of our most vulnerable or our front-line workers, and we have experts busy evaluating exactly how and where and in which way to distribute these vaccines,” he said.
Quebec, the province hardest hit by the virus, added 905 cases on Friday, along with 12 deaths — four of which occurred in the last 24 hours.
Officials warned Friday that Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches residents must abide by public health directives aimed at stemming the tide of COVID-19 in order to keep the health-care network intact.
“If we keep on the same track as we currently are, we are going straight into a wall,” said Quebec’s Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault. “The health-care system will not be able to take care of you anymore in some cases.”
Ontario posted another 826 coronavirus cases and nine fatalities attributed to the virus. An independent commission on long-term care released a report with recommendations on how to assist Ontario facilities in the second wave of the virus.
B.C., which is heading to the polls on Saturday, topped 2,000 active virus cases for the first time on Friday with the addition of 256 newly diagnosed cases.
In Manitoba, 163 new cases were announced, along with the death of a man in his 80s who was a resident at a Winnipeg long-term care home that is suffering an outbreak.
Throughout Atlantic Canada, just two more cases of the virus were diagnosed — both in New Brunswick.
The Northwest Territories also announced a new coronavirus patient, who officials said was a Yellowknife resident who works at the Gahcho Kue diamond mine.
With some record daily case counts around the world this week, the World Health Organization warned that we are at a “critical juncture” in the pandemic.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference Friday that some countries are on a “dangerous track.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, which is tallying known cases and deaths around the world, more than 42 million people have been diagnosed, and 1.1 million have died due to COVID-19 as of Friday.
—With files from Kalina Laframboise, Global News
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