Canada surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, marking a grim milestone for the country as provinces work to control the second wave.
As of Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. ET, there were 200,730 confirmed infections in Canada, while the death toll stood at 9,776. British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and the country’s three territories have yet to provide provincial updates.
More than 10.1 million tests have been administered across the country, while 169,305 of confirmed cases in Canada were considered resolved.
A majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada come from Ontario and Quebec — two provinces that are facing tighter restrictions for the next 28 days in heavily infected areas after a resurgence in cases
Quebec reported the highest case numbers in the country on Monday at 1,038 new infections — topping 1,000 cases for the fourth consecutive day — while Ontario recorded 704, most of which were from Toronto, Peel and York Region.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé called for the “cooperation of all Quebecers to break the wave” and slow the virus’ transmission on Twitter Monday, adding, “we will all get there together.”
Colin Furness, an epidemiologist teaching at the University of Toronto, told Global News the milestone represented a “heroic effort” to keep COVID-19 cases from overwhelming the healthcare system, but was otherwise insignificant.
“It’s only telling us a portion of the iceberg above the water,” he said.
“The real question is how many Canadians have had COVID-19 — and we don’t know.”
The actual number of people in Canada who may have had COVID-19 and not sought medical help or gotten tested for the virus is still unknown, Furness said, but if Canada has managed to keep its population infection rate below three per cent as the newly confirmed case numbers suggest, “that’s actually pretty good news.”
Meanwhile, the federal Conservatives have been pushing for an investigation into the federal government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As businesses are closed and in another series of COVID-related economic shutdowns, we are looking for answers as to why the federal government left Canadians unprepared to deal with this second wave,” Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner said Sunday.
“Canadians deserve an explanation about why the federal government only has an economic shutdown to rely upon after months, and billions of dollars being spent.”
On Sunday, chief public health officer Theresa Tam urged Canadians to work adhere to physical distancing guidelines and continue health safety practices like hand-washing.
“We’ve sacrificed a lot and learned a lot during these many months of living with COVID-19. Our challenge now and going forward is to remain united in our efforts to get all of Canada back on a ‘slow burn,’” she said in an online statement.
Tam said the federal government’s goal was to reduce cases of COVID-19 infection to manageable levels, but added “public health cannot do this alone.”
“Everyone is needed on the frontlines, from essential workers to volunteers to businesses, workplaces, and everyday citizens across Canada,” she said.
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