Canada hit a grim milestone on Saturday when the country officially surpassed one million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Canada recorded 6,937 total cases on Saturday evening after British Columbia reported a two day total of 2,090 new cases of the novel coronavirus, according to CTVNews.ca’s COVID-19 case tracker.
The country currently has 57,022 active COVID-19 cases, 921,459 recoveries, and 23,050 deaths.
The very first case of COVID-19 in Canada was confirmed at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on Jan. 25.
A little more than a month later, on March 11, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic with 126,000 confirmed cases worldwide. On that date, Canada recorded 108 total confirmed cases.
Now, Canada is in the midst of a third wave or surge in new infections in several of the most populous provinces, including Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
Ontario reported 3,009 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 3,089 on Friday, marking the first time the province topped 3,000 cases since January. On Saturday at 12:00 a.m., the province implemented a month-long emergency shutdown of personal services and in-person dining while imposing tighter capacity limits on both essential and non-essential businesses.
Quebec topped over 1,300 COVID-19 cases for the first time since January on Friday, and reported 1,282 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. As a result, the province said it will be increasing police presence to ensure holiday weekend gathering restrictions are respected.
B.C. hit another record-setting case count with 1,018 COVID-19 infections on Friday and 1,072 on Saturday, bringing the province’s total confirmed number of cases to 102,970 since the beginning of the pandemic. On Monday, the province tightened restrictions for the first time since November, implementing a three-week “circuit breaker” which includes banning indoor dining and personal care services in certain regions.
In response to the rising number of cases, each of the provinces have enacted stricter public health measures in an effort to quell the tide of the third wave.
Ontario, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, was forced into a provincewide “emergency brake” shutdown for a month following ominous modelling data that showed that case counts could reach 6,000 a day by the end of April.
In Quebec, three regions, including the provincial capital, have been put under a 10-day lockdown, with schools and non-essential businesses closed, until April 12.
On March 29, British Columbia announced the introduction of a three-week long “circuit breaker” with new restrictions after the province set a single-day record of 936 new cases the weekend before.
In addition to tightening restrictions on businesses and gatherings, the provinces have been scrambling to vaccinate as many residents as they can as case counts rise.
Ontario has administered 2,424,063 vaccines, 321,469 of which are second doses, as of April 3. Quebec is not far behind with 1,488,347 vaccines administered with no second doses. In B.C., 856,801 vaccine doses have been administered with 87,455 of those being second doses.
As of Saturday, 5,587,891 Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
With files from The Canadian Press