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

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

The Dease Lake Airport is receiving $11-million in upgrades funded by the province, Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and mining companies. (British Columbia Aviation Council)
Major upgrades coming to Dease Lake Airport

Airport to receive $11-million from the province, regional district and mining companies

Dianna Plouffe, right, with Mayor Gladys Atrill in front of Town Hall following the announcement she will be the new CAO> (Facebook photo)
Director of corporate services named Smithers CAO

Dianna Plouffe replaces Alan Harris who is retiring at the end of April

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

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 syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read