Canada adds over 900 new coronavirus cases, continuing alarming upward surge

Canada’s new coronavirus cases continued to climb at an alarming rate Wednesday, as health officials reported 939 new confirmed infections.

The new total nearly matches the number reported back on May 26 — which happened to be the first day in months that daily cases were under 1,000, signalling the end of the pandemic’s first wave.

It’s also the first time more than 900 new cases were reported since May 29.

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With a total of 139,634 cases since the pandemic began, Canada is on track to cross 140,000 cases just two weeks after hitting 130,000. By comparison, it took 24 days to grow from 120,000 to 130,000 cases.

Five more deaths were also reported Wednesday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 9,193. A total of 122,449 patients have recovered, with 609 of those recoveries occurring over the past 24 hours.

Quebec reported 303 new cases and three more deaths, although two of those fatalities occurred last week. The province continues to be the hardest hit in the country, with 65,857 cases and 5,788 deaths to date.

Another 313 new cases and two deaths were announced in Ontario, bringing that province’s totals to 45,383 cases and 2,822 deaths. Over 40,000 of those cases have since recovered from the virus.

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Manitoba saw 23 new cases for a new total of 1,489, while Saskatchewan has now seen 1,751 total cases after 10 new infections were reported Wednesday. No new deaths were announced for either province, which have seen a combined 40 fatalities to date.

Alberta reported 171 new cases, taking its total to 16,128 cases. The province’s death toll stands at 254, with no new deaths in the past 24 hours, while 14,379 have recovered.

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British Columbia reported one of its highest daily totals on record, with 122 new cases, all but five of which have been confirmed through laboratory testing. The rest are “epidemiologically linked,” meaning they are close contacts with confirmed cases and have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.

The province has now seen 7,385 confirmed cases to date, plus a total of 113 epidemiologically-linked infections. The death toll stands at 219, with no deaths.

None of the Atlantic provinces nor the northern territories reported new cases Wednesday.

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The steadily-increasing cases comes as more and more schools reopen to full-time, in-class learning, raising the possibility of even more new infections in the near future.

Several provinces have already seen cases spring up within schools, forcing some — including in Winnipeg and parts of Ontario — to close or shift to online learning.

The virus has also impacted some prominent politicians, with both Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet going into self-isolation this week after staffers for both men tested positive. Blanchet’s spouse has also contracted COVID-19.

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Parliament is set to resume next week with the Liberals’ planned throne speech, which O’Toole and Blanchet will likely be unable to attend in person — putting the prospect of a non-confidence vote into question.

At the end of a two-day cabinet retreat Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made clear he does not want an election in the fall and that government should be focused on economic recovery and getting through the pandemic.

Trudeau also released details Wednesday of how provinces and territories will spend the $19 billion the federal government is giving them to safely restart the economy. The details were in letters each premier has sent outlining how they intend to spend the money.

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Among other things, the funding will help increase testing and contact tracing, support the health-care system, help municipalities deliver essential services like public transit and ensure a secure supply of personal protective equipment for front-line workers.

The money will also go toward increasing safe child-care spaces and income support for workers without paid sick leave.

— With files from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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