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

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

A man on a skateboard and a young woman pass large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on November 22, 2015. The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding student loan payments that officials will never be able to collect. Recently released spending documents show the government won't collect $203.5 million in debts from 34,240 students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan

VANCOUVER — A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing is set to start… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $25 million Lotto max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

MADISON, Wis. — States asked the federal government this week to withhold… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Most Read