Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada still in ‘incredibly serious’ situation with COVID-19, Trudeau says

Trudeau said all Canadians should avoid international travel

The COVID-19 case count continues to climb at an alarming pace west of the Maritimes, despite tighter restrictions as some jurisdictions get ready for more drastic measures.

Total cases hit 304,477 across the country, according to numbers reported as of midday Tuesday, more than half of those cases having come in the past four months. The death toll now stands at 11,063, according to figures from provincial health authorities.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam highlighted “promising” early results from two vaccine trials by Pfizer and Moderna. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed the country remains in an “incredibly serious” situation where Canadians will need to refocus their efforts until vaccines become widely available.

“We still have to get through the next month and the month after that before vaccines arrive,” Trudeau said Tuesday in Ottawa.

He said the military could “potentially” play a role in delivering millions of vaccine doses to provincial hubs, but once again brushed off the possibility of invoking the Emergencies Act to help clamp down on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I don’t think we’re there yet. I hope we won’t and I don’t think we will,” Trudeau said in French.

The number of patients with severe illness due to COVID-19 is surging, with those over 80 years old having the highest incidence rate, Tam said.

Public health authorities are warning of a steep rise in demand for hospital beds and intensive-care treatment in the days ahead based on recent record-breaking case numbers.

New cases exceeded 1,000 for the 12th consecutive day in Ontario, which reported 1,249 new cases Tuesday and 12 new deaths due to the illness.

Toronto alone saw 569 new cases — its highest ever daily tally — while Peel Region had 256.

READ MORE: No mask mandate as B.C. breaks records with 1,959 new COVID cases, 9 deaths over weekend

Nunavut is the latest jurisdiction to announce strict new measures, as the territory prepares to enter a partial lockdown.

It has logged 26 cases since the first one was reported Nov. 6, prompting the government to close all schools, indoor dining and non-essential businesses for at least two weeks starting Wednesday.

Manitoba, which brought in similar measures last week, is upping its enforcement game, hiring a private security firm to help hand out fines for infractions such as gathering in groups of more than five people.

The company G4S Canada will provide more than 90 people to enforce COVID-19 restrictions, Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday.

Quebec reported 982 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 24 more deaths attributed to the virus. Health authorities said hospitalizations jumped by 47 compared with the prior day, to 638.

“Maybe next summer we could go back to a life that is just about normal,” Quebec Premier François Legault said in French.

Alberta suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic earlier this week, reporting Monday that 20 people in the province had died from COVID-19 the day before.

Trudeau said all Canadians should avoid international travel, even as some remain set on heading south for the winter.

The pandemic is resurgent across large swaths of the United States, saying Canadians are safest at home.

However, he says the choice is in the hands of individuals, and suggests those who do make the trip get comprehensive health and travel insurance and make sure that regional health-care facilities are not overwhelmed.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

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

Just Posted

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read