Cases of COVID-19 in Canada have now surpassed 700,000, according to a Global News tally updated with the latest data from health officials.
The milestone came after Ontario reported another 3,056 cases Saturday. To date, a total of 702,183 infections have been detected in Canada, with both Ontario and Quebec recording the highest caseloads.
A total of 17,865 deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been recorded in Canada as well, after 136 more fatalities were announced Saturday. Over 608,000 patients have since recovered and at least 20,366,000 tests have been administered.
Cases of the virus continue to surge in communities across the country, with officials attributing the large number of social contacts Canadians had during the holidays.
The most recent modelling of the virus’ spread — presented by public health authorities Friday — showed that Canada was on its way to surpassing 10,000 new cases of the virus per day by February.
According to Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, current measures would have to be “further intensified” in order to slow down the spread of the virus.
“If we ease measures too soon the epidemic will resurge even more strongly,” Tam said in a press conference Friday.
The modelling also found cases of the virus could potentially surge past 30,000 per day if Canadians increase their contact with each other by February.
Federal officials also revealed on Friday that shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the country would be delayed for four weeks due to production issues.
According to Procurement Minister Anita Anand, only half of Pfizer’s promised vaccine doses would arrive in the next month because of the delay.
“This expansion work means that Pfizer is temporarily reducing deliveries to all countries receiving vaccine manufactured at its European facility — and that includes Canada,” Anand said.
Both Anand and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also reassured Canadians would not impact the country’s long term vaccination plan, and that they would still have enough vaccines available by September for any Canadian who wanted to be inoculated.
In a tweet Saturday, Anand said that shipments of the Pfizer vaccine next week would be “largely unaffected” by the delay.