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article imageCovid-19 threatens to overwhelm Canada's healthcare system

By Karen Graham     yesterday in Health
As COVID-19 infections skyrocketed in the U.S. Canada seemed to be doing everything right in keeping the virus at bay. But Canadians’ exhaustion with pandemic restrictions is now coinciding with an outbreak that threatens to overwhelm healthcare systems
Canada's COVID-19 case count — as of 11:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday stands at 309,877 confirmed cases and 11,136 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. On Tuesday, according to CBC News, the case count stood at 306,468, with 11,086 deaths.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said Tuesday that the number of people experiencing severe illness "continues to increase. Over the past seven days, there were on average 1,675 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including over 330 in critical care," Tam said, noting that an average of 66 deaths had been reported each day.
At the pace the virus is spreading, Canada’s daily case count may more than double by early December, health officials warned last week. Dr. Tam said the country was at a critical juncture in the pandemic and again urged Canadians to "plank the curve."
Dr. Theresa Tam  Chief Public Health Officer of Canada at a World Health Assembly event to look at w...
Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada at a World Health Assembly event to look at ways to boost public trust in vaccines.
U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Geneva
Virus surging in some provinces
On Tuesday, Saskatchewan expanded its mask mandate after getting calls from doctors and healthcare officials asking that more be done to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
"COVID-19 is now present in every part of the province, and you should wear a mask in every part of the province," said Premier Scott Moe during a news conference. Tuesday's announcement puts all Saskatchewan residents under the same restriction.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority reported 240 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 2,055.
Manitoba is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Texas and has a population of about 1.4 million. The province now has the highest rate of active cases - 512 per 100,000 people, or nearly quadruple the national rate.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau8 and Dr. Theresa Tam speak with the media in October 2020.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau8 and Dr. Theresa Tam speak with the media in October 2020.
Prime Minister's Office/Adam Scott
“In a couple of weeks, we’re going to be in a catastrophic situation,” said Dr. Anand Kumar, a Manitoba intensive care physician, reports Reuters.
On Tuesday, Manitoba's Premier Brian Pallister announced the private security firm, G4S Canada, was hired to help with enforcement of the province's COVID-19 regulations, with personnel slated to be handing out tickets by this weekend.
Pallister also said the province is filing charges in addition to levying fines against those who took part in a rally in Steinbach, Man., last weekend where protesters flouted COVID-19 regulations. The province reported 270 new cases and seven deaths, including a woman in her 30s, on Tuesday. The provincial test positivity rate is at a record-high 13.6 percent.
Only a few vehicles line the streets of downtown Toronto  Ontario on March 24  2020 -- nearly one mi...
Only a few vehicles line the streets of downtown Toronto, Ontario on March 24, 2020 -- nearly one million Canadian workers have been laid off following temporary closure orders given to many businesses in an effort to slow the pandemic's spread
Geoff Robins, AFP/File
British Columbia set several somber new records for the pandemic on Tuesday - recording 717 new cases of the virus and 11 additional deaths. Provincial health officials say there are 6,589 active cases in the province, with 198 people in the hospital, 63 of them in intensive care.
The province set a record Tuesday for the highest single-day totals for new cases and deaths, as well as the number of people hospitalized.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who has said it's the "expectation" that people will wear masks in indoor public spaces has not ordered a mask mandate. "Many of the settings that we are talking about are settings where people would not naturally wear a mask, like in your home or at a party,"{ she said.
Quebec and Ontario combined account for half of Canada’s active COVID-19 cases and 90 percent of covid-related deaths. And in Alberta, health authorities are seeing a "deeply concerning" period of "exponential growth" of COVID-19. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw points out, that "again it's up to us where that wave peaks and how quickly we can bring it down."
Shopping for pumpkins at Thanksgiving in Ottawa s Byward Market.
Shopping for pumpkins at Thanksgiving in Ottawa's Byward Market.
Lars Plougmann from United Kingdom
A Canadian Thanksgiving
Canada's Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as many provincial leaders and health officials, warned Canadians about letting down their guard during the holiday, repeating warnings about wearing masks, and limiting Thanksgiving gatherings to six people or fewer.
But humans are a strange lot, and if the danger is invisible, we tend to overlook the obvious. When no one in the family is sick, and the kids really miss their grandparents, and Aunt Alice has no one to share Thanksgiving with - A big family Thanksgiving won’t hurt, will it?
Canadians are no different than Americans. We all are experiencing "COVID exhaustion." We are tired of the restrictions, social distancing, and mask-wearing. And basically, this is why coronavirus cases began to soar in Canada after the October holiday.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study in Toronto reported what happened when one person attended a gathering of 12 relatives despite being symptomatic. Ten family members — including three infants — subsequently tested positive.
Just imagine what may possibly happen in the U.D. after Thanksgiving. The per-capita case incidence rates for coronavirus are five times higher, and death rates are up to three times higher than in Canada, according to the Courier-Journal.
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