A man wears a face mask as he skateboards along a street in Montreal, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

A man wears a face mask as he skateboards along a street in Montreal, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

COVID-19 cases hit new records as Tam urges perseverance, promises vaccine on the way

How soon a vaccine will arrive in Canada is still uncertain

Canada’s top doctor urged cautious optimism — and a healthy dose of patience — on Saturday, even as the second wave of COVID-19 continued its unsettling rise.

There is still a “long road ahead” in the battle to contain the virus, Dr. Theresa Tam said in her daily update, but she added that an initial vaccine supply is expected to hit Canada early next year.

“There is some good news on the horizon,” she said. “An initial supply of vaccines is expected to become available in early 2021 and although supply will be limited at the outset, Canada is well-positioned to provide access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all Canadians.”

Tam’s comments came as some provinces reported new single-day highs of new COVID-19 cases and related deaths.

Quebec saw its daily report in total new cases climb above 2,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, though the figure was inflated by some diagnoses that weren’t captured in Friday’s tally.

The province recorded 2,031 cases and 48 deaths.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube urged people to adhere to local COVID-19 measures to prevent further spread of the virus.

“Now is not the time to relax our efforts over the past few months, it is with everyone’s collaboration that we will be able to curb the spread of the virus,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ontario also broke its record with 1,859 new COVID-19 cases, coming above the 1,855 case-high reached last month, as well as 20 new deaths.

Alberta broke its own record for the third time this week, logging 1,879 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. It also counted six new deaths.

Manitoba set a single-day peak for virus-related deaths in the province, reporting 19 alongside 354 new COVID-19 infections.

Saskatchewan did not report any new virus-related deaths, but saw 202 new cases.

Nunavut, meanwhile, tallied eight new cases of the virus, all of which are in Arviat.

The remote community has served as the virus’s epicentre in Nunavut, accounting for 172 of the territory’s 214 cases.

Figures were lower in Atlantic Canada, but all of the country’s eastern-most provinces continued to see their regional infection rates creep upward.

New Brunswick reported two new cases, bringing the provincial total of active diagnoses to 98.

Prince Edward Island logged three new cases, saying the new patients are all women working in Charlottetown restaurants, while officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new infections.

In Nova Scotia, six new cases were reported, while Premier Stephen McNeil reminded people now isn’t the time to cave to the temptations of the holiday season.

“Weekends are usually filled with friends, family & shopping, but this year must be different,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We need to limit our social contacts & non-essential travel, and follow all the public health protocols to protect each other & slow the spread.”

The prospect of an imminent vaccine should be encouraging, added Tam, but she noted that recent troubling numbers reinforce the need for ongoing adherence to public health protocols meant to stem the spread of the virus.

“We don’t have a COVID-19 vaccine just yet and we must be prepared to address a range of logistical and operational challenges,” she said.

“Canada must continue with the collective effort of individuals and public health authorities to sustain the response, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences.”

How soon a vaccine will arrive in Canada is still uncertain.

READ MORE: Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said that information will be shared with Canadians once it’s certain, but that dates will depend on when Health Canada approves the vaccine and other factors such as shipment and storage necessities.

“That is what’s happening now,” she said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

“We are going to have vaccines in this country, as expeditiously as possible.”

David Friend, 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

Courtenay council
City of Courtenay receives $4 million Safe Restart Grant

In the fall, the City of Courtenay received a $4.149 million ‘COVID-19… Continue reading

A single-vehicle motor vehicle incident slowed traffic on Highway 19A Wednesday afternoon.
Single-vehicle motor vehicle incident causes delays in Courtenay

Roads were wet with a mixture of snow and rain falling throughout the day

Flowers poke through the snow in Courtenay as the area got a taste of winter weather this week. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Valley not out of the winter woods quite yet: meteorologist

“It’s winter; we’ve got to get through it together.”

The Village of Cumberland is moving ahead on bringing in possible speed limit reductions. Record file photo
Cumberland council moves on slower speed zones

Mayor says goal is to have ‘blanket zone’ in place by summer

Wind turbines are seen on a dike near Urk, Netherlands, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. A group of scientists, including five Nobel laureates, called Friday for more action to adapt the world to the effects of climate change, drawing comparisons with the faltering response to the coronavirus crisis, ahead of a major online conference on climate adaptation starting Monday and hosted by the Netherlands. (AP Photo / Peter Dejong)
Comox Valley groups host course on actively implementing solutions to climate change

The Sustainable Action group for the Environment (SAGE) and the Comox Valley… Continue reading

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read