Canada has struggled to contain the second wave of the virus, adding a staggering 20,475 new cases in just the last three days.
However, the new infections and deaths come as the country prepares to receive and deliver hundreds of thousands of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government has secured an agreement to receive its first batch of American pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year — up to 249,000 doses.
He said if the vaccine is approved by Health Canada, “Canadians will be getting vaccinated starting next week.”
According to Trudeau, shipments will continue to arrive in the new year, adding that the second batch will be reserved for the same people vaccinated in the first batch.
Health Canada’s review of Pfizer’s candidate is still ongoing but is expected to be completed any day now.
Trudeau said he hopes the agency will approve the vaccine “this week.”
New cases in the provinces
In Ontario, 1,925 new infections were reported, setting a new daily record for the third straight day.
Health officials in the province also said another 26 people have died, pushing the death toll to 3,798.
Meanwhile, in Quebec — the province hit hardest by the pandemic — 1,577 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 more fatalities were reported.
A total of 598 new cases were detected between Saskatchewan and Manitoba on Monday.
Manitoba saw 325 new infections and 12 additional deaths, while Saskatchewan added 273 new cases, and one new fatality.
In Atlantic Canada, 14 new cases of the virus were detected, but health officials said no one else had died in the region.
New Brunswick saw two new cases, while Nova Scotia reported eight new infections.
Prince Edward Island said four more people have tested positive for the virus, while health authorities in Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed the provincial case count remained at 351.
In western Canada, more than 2,000 new cases were reported.
Alberta saw 1,735 new cases of the virus and 16 more deaths, pushing the province’s total case count and death toll to 70,301 and 631, respectively.
British Columbia, meanwhile, added 647 new cases on Monday, and officials said seven more deaths had occurred.
A total of 527 people in British Columbia have now died after testing positive for COVID-19.
The province also announced it will be extending its widespread ban on social gatherings with anyone outside of one’s immediate household until midnight on Jan. 8.
New cases in the territories
Six new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Canada’s territories on Monday.
Three new infections were detected in Nunvut, pushing the territory’s total case load to 219.
Health officials in the Yukon also reported three new infections. The territory has now seen 57 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
No new infections were reported in the Northwest Territories on Monday. All 15 of the regions cases are considered to be recovered.
The country’s territories did not report any new deaths associated with the virus.
Global cases top 67.5 million
By 7 p.m. ET, the virus had claimed a total of 1,543,027 lives around the world.
The United States remains the epicentre of the virus, with over 14.9 million cases of the novel coronavirus.
To date, 283,568 people have died in America after falling ill with the respiratory illness.
— With files from Global News’ Rachael D’Amore
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.