A FedEx worker loads the 255,600 doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine which came from Europe into a freezer trailer to be transported during the COVID-19 pandemic at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A FedEx worker loads the 255,600 doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine which came from Europe into a freezer trailer to be transported during the COVID-19 pandemic at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Worrisome COVID-19 trends reported amid new vaccine supply concerns

Thousands of new cases on average and 31 deaths were being reported daily

New cases of COVID-19 infections across Canada are trending upward, public health authorities reported on Wednesday in a worrisome development that comes amid new concerns over vaccine supplies.

Thousands of new cases on average and 31 deaths were being reported daily, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in its latest update. The bottom line, the agency said, was that people still face a serious risk of contracting the disease.

“Amid increasing case counts, shifting severity trends, and a rising proportion of cases involving variants of concern in heavily impacted areas of Canada, we need to remain vigilant,” Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s top public health officer, said in a statement.

“Maintaining public health measures and individual precautions is crucial to reducing infection rates and avoiding further spread of new variants.”

While vaccinations offer some hope for containing the pandemic, concerns about supplies were rekindled after India put a halt to exports of its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine citing its own shortages, the Reuters news agency reported.

The federal government had no immediate comment on the report, but did say possible new European Union restrictions on vaccine shipments would not affect Canada.

The E.U. was expected to move Wednesday toward stricter export controls for COVID-19 vaccines amid a surge in new infections and concerns about domestic supply shortages.

A spokeswoman for International Trade Minister Mary Ng said Canada would work with the E.U. to ensure the country’s essential medical supply chains remained open.

“Our expected shipments of vaccines have been arriving in Canada,” Youmy Han said in a statement late Tuesday. “We are on track to receive 9.5 million doses by the end of March.”

Canada’s overall infection rate since the pandemic began a year ago is nearing the one-million mark, authorities reported. To date, the virus has killed 22,735 people.

More than 2,140 people were in hospitals with COVID-19 of which 591 needed intensive care.

Ontario reported another 1,571 cases and 10 related deaths on Wednesday, while Quebec saw 783 new infections, with eight more people dying of the disease. One-million vaccine doses have been administered in the province.

Saskatchewan said it would now extend its inoculation program to anyone over age 65. In addition, people aged 50 and older in the Far North can book shots, as can priority health-care workers, the Saskatchewan Health Authority said.

Given the financial toll anti-pandemic restrictions have had, thousands of hotels, restaurants and other businesses urged Ottawa to extend emergency relief past June 5. Federal wage and rent subsidies must stay in place until the end of the year, the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses said.

“Our businesses were the first hit by the pandemic, the hardest hit by the closures and will be the last to recover,” Beth Potter, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, said in a coalition statement.

READ MORE: COVID vaccine shipments to Canada won’t be affected by possible E.U. restrictions, Ng says

Colin Perkel, 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

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Restaurant operators like Canteen on the Green’s Julie Stevens are serving up food outside these days or offering takeout. (Photo by Don Bodger)
High job numbers seem overly rosy

Hard to believe there’s so much more employment in hardest hit sectors

Addition of greenery, tables and benches looks good along Chemainus Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Finishing touches down to the nitty gritty on Chemainus Road

Just a few minor adjustments yet to be made on extensive project

Chemainus Art Group creates mural mosaic to celebrate a joyful spring. (Photo submitted)
Art group members celebrate a joyful spring in Chemainus

Each of 33 squares pushed together into one mural

Savanah Sanchez with a likeness of herself in a Canucks’ uniform done by her mom Jessica. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Girl’s passion for hockey knows no bounds

No games, but extensive ice time for training beneficial to Sanchez

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

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

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read