Canada confirmed 1,919 new cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, the majority of which were reported from just three provinces.
The past 24 hours also saw 173 more people die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, bringing the overall death toll to 2,147.
The number of fatal cases exceeded 2,000 before the Western provinces even reported their new numbers.
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As of Thursday evening, 42,098 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Canada.
However, 14,774 of those patients have since recovered. Provincial health authorities said 775 of those recoveries were confirmed within the past day.
Ontario, Quebec and Alberta all saw their case totals jump by triple digits Thursday, accounting for 1,826 of the country’s new cases alone.
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While Ontario and Quebec reported 634 and 873 new cases, respectively, Alberta also added 319 new cases. That province recently expanded its testing criteria, accounting for higher daily increases.
New deaths in Ontario and Quebec also made up the majority of Canada’s latest fatalities. In Quebec, 109 more people died Thursday, while 54 patients passed away in Ontario.
British Columbia and Nova Scotia each announced four more deaths, while reporting 29 and 55 new cases, respectively.
Saskatchewan saw four more cases, while Manitoba saw five new tests come back positive.
No new cases or deaths were reported in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, or the territories, where Nunavut remains the only Canadian jurisdiction without any confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Some provinces with lower case counts have begun discussing plans to gradually reopen their economies and health-care systems while easing physical distancing restrictions.
Saskatchewan and P.E.I. have both said their reopenings will begin in early May, with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe saying Thursday that his government has set May 4 as a start date for their five-phase plan.
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Manitoba and New Brunswick officials have said they are also working on putting together similar plans.
While provinces are able to make their own decisions on restrictions within their borders, federal officials have continued to voice caution over lifting country-wide travel restrictions and other measures.
Canada’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Theresa Tam said the primary goal continues to be getting the epidemic “wave” under control and to get to the “bottom of that wave” before distancing measures can truly be relaxed.
“When we’re seeing that peak, it means we’ve still got [to look toward] the downward slope of that curve, if you like,” she said Thursday.
She added that while the overall national curve may be starting to level off, the wide variance between the provinces shows the threat is far from over, making it difficult to see when measures could be lifted on a federal level.
“I think we’re going to be living with COVID-19 for a long time,” she continued.
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“I think part of it is to be able to continue to do the physical distancing and reduce the spread while beginning to sort of get back to some of those aspects of our daily lives. We are systematically thinking through those different settings and how to very cautiously and thoughtfully approach that.”
Trudeau also said that while the military would answer requests for assistance in Quebec and Ontario, deploying the Armed Forces to long-term care facilities is a short-term solution.
—With files from Amanda Connolly and Rachael D’Amore
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