A pharmacist prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine at a pharmacy prototype clinic in Halifax on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. The province’s COVID-19 vaccine age-based rollout continues and is being expanded to include other sectors of the population including healthcare workers. The CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A pharmacist prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine at a pharmacy prototype clinic in Halifax on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. The province’s COVID-19 vaccine age-based rollout continues and is being expanded to include other sectors of the population including healthcare workers. The CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Recent increase in COVID cases worries Canada’s health officials even as vaccines roll out

Average daily deaths have fallen as vaccinations continue

A recent increase in COVID-19 cases is worrisome to Canada’s health officials, even as the vaccine rollout ramps up.

In a statement issue Sunday (March 14), chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that although cases had been levelling off, average daily case counts have stayed high and there’s been a recent increase.

There are 31,224 active cases across the country, compared to 30,146 a week ago. The seven-day average of new cases has also gone up to 3,052 from March 5-11, compared to 2,866 from Feb. 26 to March 4.

However, the number of people being treated in hospital each day has dropped from 2,125 to 2,056 and average daily deaths dropped by 10 to 31.

But variants of concern continue to spread in Canada; as of Thursday, a total of 2,986 variants of concern have been reported across Canada, including 2,728 U.K. B.1.1.7 variants, 215 South African B.1.351 variants and 43 Brazil P.1 variants. That’s an increase of 1,337 new variant cases detected since March 4.

“With the continued increase of cases and outbreaks associated with more contagious variants, we must all remain vigilant with public health measures and individual precautions to prevent a rapid shift in trajectory of the epidemic,” Tam said.

Approximately 2.79 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since immunization efforts began in mid-December, translating to at least 5.1 per cent of Canada’s population receiving at least one dose. B.C. has given out at least 366,791 shots while Alberta has given out 317,573 shots, and Ontario leads the way as the only province to have administered more than one million doses.

READ MORE: ‘Patchwork quilt’ approach to COVID-19 vaccine rollout frustrates worker groups


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