As Canada inches closer to kicking off its vaccination plan, the country is still grappling with rising coronavirus cases and deaths.
Just yesterday, Canada’s death toll hit a new grim milestone — more than 13,000.
Cases have been rising in a number of provinces over the past few months. Outbreaks have also popped up in provinces and territories that once saw few to no cases daily.
On Thursday, an additional 6,738 cases of COVID-19 were reported by health authorities, bringing Canada’s total number of infections to 441,705. To date, over 355,000 patients have recovered. More than 15.9 million tests have been performed.
Canada’s top doctor, Theresa Tam, along with several other federal ministers, are expected to provide an update on the pandemic in the country at 10 a.m. ET.
Tam is expected to release new modelling showing how case counts could progress in Canada.
You can watch the address live here.
Meanwhile, Canada has received more positive news about vaccines.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that the government will foot the bill for COVID-19 vaccines, including the costs of supplies to administer them.
Doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in Canada on Monday.
The government expects a limited rollout to begin to priority groups “within days” after arrival with vaccination of the general population slated to start in April.
Trudeau said distribution will be a “gradual process” that will flow through 14 identified sites across the country — one in each province and two in the four largest provinces. None of the early shipments are slated for the territories.
From there, the federal government will pass the baton to the provinces, many of which have already begun releasing tidbits of their timelines for vaccination. Ontario, for example, confirmed Thursday that health-care workers in Toronto and Ottawa would get the province’s first doses next Tuesday, while Alberta says it plans to distribute its first doses starting next Wednesday.
— with files from Global News’ Rachel Gilmore and the Canadian Press
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