Canada added an estimated 4,800 more cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday as the resignation of an Ontario cabinet minister set off a series of revelations about elected officials and their holiday getaways.
The country’s caseload reached 586,425 Saturday after several provinces began to report new COVID-19 data after the holiday break. A total of 3,922 lab-confirmed cases were announced by provinces, while Alberta officials estimated another 900 cases.
Another 58 fatalities were also reported, pushing the country’s death toll to 15,714. To date, 495,000 patients have recovered from the virus in Canada, while over 18.58 million tests have since been administered.
Saturday’s data paints a limited snapshot of the country’s total COVID-19 caseload as several provinces like B.C., Alberta, Quebec and P.E.I. and all the territories did not report new infections due to the holiday season or to it being the weekend.
The new cases come amid reports of other politicians leaving on holiday getaways following Rod Philips’ resignation as Ontario finance minister Thursday.
Several Alberta politicians and senior staffers were found to have taken trips in recent weeks, among them Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard and MLAs Jason Stephan, Pat Rehn, Tanya Fir and Jeremy Nixon.
Saskatchewan MLA Joe Hargrave was also found to have visited California to finalize the sale of his home in Palm Springs in recent weeks, while Quebec MNA Pierre Arcand was spotted vacationing in Barbados.
CAQ MNA Youri Chassin also faced criticism after the Canadian Press revealed he was visiting his husband in Peru.
On Thursday, the federal NDP stripped Manitoba MP Niki Ashton of her critic roles after it was revealed she recently travelled to Greece to visit a sick relative.
Saturday’s cases also broke records in Ontario, after a single-day high of 3,363 new infections was reported. The province in total marked 5,839 cases over Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, pushing COVID-19 infections there to 187,998.
Saskatchewan 210 more cases over the past 24-hour period, while Manitoba reported 326 new infections over the last two days.