OTTAWA — As Ontario and Quebec are weeks into the second wave of COVID-19 and 2.500 new cases were reported across the country on Thursday, other provinces that appeared to have transmission of the coronavirus under control are now also struggling to contain it.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are reporting spikes in cases and hospitalizations.
Cases in Saskatchewan almost doubled in less than a week. Manitoba set a daily case record Thursday with almost 150 new infections, and now the province is considering a lockdown.
“A lockdown has to be on the table. It has to be considered,” said Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen.
“But if you’re going to tell people you can’t work, if you’re going to tell people you have to close your business, government has a responsibility to make sure that those people don’t go broke and that business doesn’t go under,” he added.
In Ontario, 783 new cases were reported Thursday, along with five deaths related to the coronavirus. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says 239 of the new cases are in Toronto.
Ontario completed nearly 40,000 tests on Wednesday.
2/2 Over the past week, an average of over 77,000 people have been tested for #COVID19 daily across Canada, with 2.4% of these people testing positive as #publichealth continues to #TestandTrace. https://t.co/ZArmpJMAM3
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) October 15, 2020
With all the new cases, Canada’s most populous province announced plans to beef up its contact tracing as it recorded a nine per cent increase in new daily COVID-19 cases.
Even though overwhelmed Toronto Public Health officials suspended contact tracing of COVID-19 cases earlier this month, outside of outbreaks in congregate settings, medical experts continue to state it is a crucial weapon in the fight against the coronavirus.
Ontario says it has hired 100 more people to help track and isolate new cases of the novel coronavirus and plans to hire 500 more by mid-November.
Meanwhile, Quebec reported 969 cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths in the past 24 hours. There were 844 new cases recorded the previous day.
Health officials are also reporting another 22 deaths linked to the virus that they say occurred at earlier dates.
In B.C., health officials reported 158 new cases on Wednesday, for a total of 10,892 since the start of the pandemic.
Also Thursday, a new study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research suggests governments and corporations are shifting the responsibility for managing the pandemic onto individuals.
A team of three Canadian researchers found that in the early days, governments and companies took decisive action to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.
But as the pandemic wore on, messaging shifted to urging consumers to follow guidelines such as physical distancing and mask use.