This week, Canada’s attention regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is shifting towards our hospitals. While daily case numbers are starting to slightly fall in the midst of a powerful third wave, hospitalization is up nearly 20%. This includes a new surge of patients in intensive care units. There is a worry that hotspots like Ontario may suffer the fate of areas of the world where infection rates outstripped what Canada can handle.
Currently, Canada stands at 1.17M cases, with 1.06M recoveries and over 23,000 deaths. Ontario maintains its lead as the province with the most cases, while Quebec remains the province with the most deaths.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford is responding to the strain placed on Ontario’s intensive care units by calling for a ban on international travel into Canada, citing the appearance of new variants in his province. Right now there are over 800 people in intensive care units in the province, a record high. Quebec is pushing to stem its own rising tide of cases with greater vaccination but has reported shortages of AstraZeneca vaccines in Montreal.
British Columbia is, like Ontario, looking to travel restrictions to help cut down on its infection rates. The province is being divided into three regions, with non-essential travel restricted between them. Those breaking the travel ban could suffer fines. Alberta is also seeing a surge in COVID cases, and there are concerns about how quickly it can roll out vaccines to counteract this rise in cases.
Saskatchewan is also seeing higher numbers in its ICUs than it is used to, amidst concerns of mixed messaging by its Government. Manitoba is, like Ontario, considering restricting travel as new variants of the virus emerge among the population.
Nova Scotia has reported its highest number of COVID cases today, with 63 infections. Nova Scotia, along with New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador are also concerned that rising COVID cases could be linked to visitors from out of province.
When it comes to vaccinations, Canada has passed a more positive milestone today, with over 10 million Canadians receiving at least one dose of vaccination. Roughly a million Canadians are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The rollout of vaccines is impressive, but what will be important is making sure those vaccines reach those who need them most. The government of Canada has many important strategic decisions to make as far as a rollout. As for regular Canadians, it is up to us to protect each other until more vaccines can be delivered.