Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller echoed this call for continued vigilance Thursday as his department reported that the number of people with COVID-19 in First Nations communities has declined to the lowest point since Dec. 6, with 1,869 active cases reported as of Wednesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller echoed this call for continued vigilance Thursday as his department reported that the number of people with COVID-19 in First Nations communities has declined to the lowest point since Dec. 6, with 1,869 active cases reported as of Wednesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Feds call for continued vigilance as Canada sees 30% drop in COVID cases

Public health experts say the slowdown has led to a gradual decline in severe COVID-19 outcomes

Canada has seen nearly a 30 per cent drop in active COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, but the country’s chief public health officer says strict measures should remain in place as more contagious variants of the virus threaten to derail this downward trend.

In a daily update Thursday, Dr. Theresa Tam said there are 48,221 active COVID-19 cases in Canada, down from more than 68,400 cases two weeks ago.

Tam said the daily federal tally has also been trending downwards, with an average of 4,061 new infections reported per day over the past week.

She said this slowdown has led to a gradual decline in severe COVID-19 outcomes. Over the past seven days, an average of 3,711 patients were treated in hospitals each day, including 792 in intensive care.

Even with this decline, Tam said the current caseload continues to burden local health-care resources, particularly in regions with high infection rates.

“The risk remains that trends could reverse quickly,” Tam said in a statement, noting that the spread of the virus is accelerating in some parts of the country and outbreaks continue to occur in high-risk communities.

“These factors underscore the importance of sustaining public health measures and individual practices and not easing restrictions too fast or too soon.

“This is particularly important in light of the emergence of new virus variants of concern that could rapidly accelerate transmission of COVID-19 in Canada.”

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller echoed this call for continued vigilance Thursday as his department reported that the number of people with COVID-19 in First Nations communities has declined to the lowest point since Dec. 6, with 1,869 active cases reported as of Wednesday.

Miller said more than 64,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to First Nations on reserve, Inuit and in the territories as of Feb. 3. But as authorities wait to see how Canada-wide delays in vaccine shipments will impact the rollout, Miller warned this isn’t the time to let down our guards.

Moderna was to deliver 230,000 doses to Canada this week, but 180,000 arrived Thursday morning instead.

A spokeswoman for the company says it will still deliver two million doses total by the end of March. The company has delivered about half a million thus far, leaving 1.5 million for the only two shipments planned after this week before that deadline.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander managing logistics of vaccine deliveries for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said Canada doesn’t expect to get the 249,600 doses it was initially allocated for the Feb. 22 shipment either.

As federal authorities urge restraint, Manitoba is considering loosening restrictions to allow restaurants, lounges, gyms and churches to reopen at a reduced capacity.

Current measures expire next week and the province is seeking public feedback about changes moving forward.

Non-essential businesses were forced to close in November as COVID-19 infections and deaths surged.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said while numbers have significantly dropped, any steps to reopen must be taken cautiously.

Meanwhile, Ontario is considering cancelling March break as it moves to reopen schools that remain shuttered in southern parts of the province.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he’s waiting on the opinion of the province’s chief medical officer of health before making a final call, stressing the importance of preventing travel as COVID-19 variants run rampant abroad.

Public Health Ontario released data Thursday indicating that mutations were found in 5.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases screened on a single day in January, most of them linked to a deadly outbreak at a nursing home in Simcoe-Muskoka.

Officials say more will be revealed about the prevalence of variants in the province as testing ramps up.

In Quebec, junior college and university students will be gradually welcomed back to campus starting next week, offering an alternative to the online education they’ve received since last March.

Students will be allowed to attend in-person classes at least once a week, and eventually, up to several times a month, Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann told reporters Thursday. Classrooms will be capped at 50 per cent capacity.

British Columbia also announced that it’s expanding its mask mandate in schools, requiring students in middle and secondary school and staff for kindergarten through Grade 12 to wear face coverings in all indoor areas.

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Coronavirusfederal government

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

Just Posted

Last week warming temperatures were a concern for Avalanche Canada forecasters, and those trends likely contributed to an avalanche that killed a West Kootenay snowmobiler on Thursday, March 4. Jen Coulter file photo.
Warming trend contributed to Kaslo fatality: Avalanche Canada

Concern for persistent layers has reduced since then

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
Father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Forty-eight vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Third-grader Hudson Adrian (left) on Wednesday, Feb. 24, poses with fourth-graders Josh Hlookoff (centre) and Jaylen Dekteroff at Hutton Elementary’s Pink Shirt Day parade. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
WATCH — Grand Forks’ elementaries support Pink Shirt Day

The annual celebration of kindness puts paid to the idea that bullying was ever cool

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

Most Read