People line up at a COVID-19 testing clinic Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

People line up at a COVID-19 testing clinic Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canada’s total COVID-19 case count surpasses one million

Some provinces have introduced stricter public health measures in a bid to contain the spread of variants

Canada soared past its one millionth diagnosis of COVID-19 on Saturday, reaching the grim milestone the same day it administered its six millionth dose of vaccine to protect against the virus.

British Columbia pushed the nation over the threshold on Saturday afternoon when it reported 2,090 infections over the course of two days, bringing the national number to roughly 1,001,650.

Canada has been recording about 100,000 new cases every three to four weeks, surging past the 900,000 mark on March 13.

The nation had also administered six million doses of vaccine as of Saturday evening, provincial data show. The federal government had set that number as the goal for how many vaccine doses should arrive in Canada by the end of the first quarter of 2021 — a target it met last week.

The two milestones are emblematic of where the nation stands with COVID-19, ramping up its vaccination drive as more contagious variants of the virus fuel the pandemic’s third wave.

Alberta, for instance, is investigating what the province’s chief medical officer of health described as a “significant” outbreak of the P. 1 variant of concern, which first emerged in Brazil.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in a tweet that the outbreak can be traced back to a returning traveller.

“Health officials are working hard to limit future spread and reaching out directly to those at risk of exposure,” she said. “AHS will ensure that anyone at risk is isolated, offered testing twice and connected with supports if needed.”

Hinshaw said officials will provide an update on the investigation on Monday.

That province logged an estimated 1,100 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, roughly half of which are variants of concern.

Hinshaw said 35 per cent of the province’s active COVID-19 cases are due to those variants, which are more contagious and can cause more serious illness.

Some provinces have introduced stricter public health measures in a bid to contain the spread of such variants, with Ontario entering a “shutdown” on Saturday.

The new restrictions force gyms and personal care services across the province to close, but allow essential and non-essential retailers to remain open, with their capacities limited to 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

Schools in the province will also remain open for in-person learning following the delayed spring break, which ends on April 9.

Classrooms were shuttered throughout the province after the winter break in January and gradually reopened based on the local prevalence of COVID-19. The boards in hardest-hit hot spots opened classrooms in mid-February.

But the province has said it doesn’t want to take that step again, calling it disastrous for children’s mental health.

Ontario recorded 3,009 new infections on Saturday and 3,089 a day earlier, when the government didn’t share data because of the Good Friday holiday.

Quebec, meanwhile, has seen daily cases back up over the 1,000 mark in the last few days after weeks of logging new infection rates in the triple digits, recording 1,282 cases on Saturday.

And B.C., whose high numbers tipped Canada over the edge of one million, broke its own record two days in a row, reporting 1,072 diagnoses on Saturday and 1,018 on Friday.

The province’s chief medical officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix said people should stay in their own community or health authority while vacationing and consider limiting their travel to day trips or overnight stays in a local campground or hotel.

“We have seen too many cases of people travelling outside their health authority region and not using their layers of protection, leading to outbreaks and clusters in their home community,” they said in a written statement.

“These outbreaks are avoidable, and right now we must stay within our local region for the safety of your community and for others.”

Saskatchewan, meanwhile, counted 280 new cases on Saturday and Manitoba reported 181 over two days.

Farther east, New Brunswick recorded nine new cases and Nova Scotia counted four.

READ MORE: B.C. sets two new daily records with latest COVID-19 cases

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-province workers to staff Langford vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
Extinction Rebellion activists march from Vancouver to Victoria this weekend

The four-day trek ends at the B.C. legislature Monday, protest province’s environmental policy

A weekend of sunny skies may have Victoria breaking temperature records, according to an Environment Canada meteorologist. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Temperature records eyed for Victoria with sunny weekend forcast

Victoria hit the highest April 14 temperature since 1926 on Wednesday

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Hydro crews repairing failed electrical equipment in Saanich

Vernon Avenue reopen to traffic following closure

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read