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article imageCanada beginning to see a surge in coronavirus cases

By Karen Graham     Jul 21, 2020 in Health
As Canadians prepare for a gradual reopening from the coronavirus lockdown, this past weekend has revealed some disturbing news - There has been an uptick in new coronavirus cases in several provinces, reminding us that another surge in cases is possible.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the provencial government is looking at whether to ease more COVID-19 restrictions as early as Saturday, according to The Star. This would include the possible lifting of the 14-day self-isolation requirement for all domestic travellers.
This means casinos could be open for the first time in months, and the limit to gathering could be raised to 75 people indoors and 250 people outdoors. Religious gatherings may be raised to 500 people or half capacity, whichever is lower.
Uptick in Ontario
While Manitoba looks like it is ready to get back into the real world, other places in Canada may have to end up reversing course in reopening to any greater degree. In a series of tweets this morning, Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott reported 203 new cases of COVID-19, the most on any single day in about three weeks.
Elliott cited "localized increases," namely in Peel, Ottawa and Windsor-Essex. The three regions each confirmed 57, 43 and 24 new cases, respectively. She also noted that 57 percent of the new cases were in people 39 years of age or younger.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist, is in agreement with many infectious disease specialists in reminding everyone that a negative COVID-19 test is no reason to socialize in larger groups. The tests can't detect coronavirus when it is in the incubation stage.
Not only can a person who tests negative one day show up as positive for the virus two days later, but it's also possible to be exposed to the virus right after getting tested.
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
Ontario has now seen a total of 37,942 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in late January. Problem is - after several weeks of a steady decline, the number of active cases in the province has risen this week, up to about 1,584 at present.
This jump in daily cases comes about just one day after Premier Doug Ford announced that another seven public health units would be moving into Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan on Friday. This means Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will remain in Stage 2.
British Columbia cases surging
Way out on Canada's West Coast, because of a surge in COVID-19 infections, health officials in British Columbia are warning that the province is at a tipping point.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed on Monday that the province had seen 102 new coronavirus cases over the weekend, There have now been 3,300 cases in B.C. since the beginning of the pandemic, of which 253 are still active.
Henry explained that the new modeling suggests that the numbers of new cases reported daily are rising and could continue to rise over the summer. "We do have the possibility of having explosive growth here in our outbreak, if we're not careful," Henry said.
Closed gates are seen in Lansdowne  Ontario at the US-Canada border in March 2020
Closed gates are seen in Lansdowne, Ontario at the US-Canada border in March 2020
Lars Hagberg, AFP/File
While B.C. has done a good job of flattening the curve of infection so far, she said the province is currently "on the edge" and could see that work undone in the coming weeks.
Cases creeping up in Quebec
In the past 24 hours, there were 180 new oronavirus cases in Quebec One new death was also reported today, for a total of 5,658.
The province has reported a total of 57,796 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 50,298 of which are considered recovered, while hospitalizations have declined by four to 247, with 15 people in intensive care, a reduction of two. Quebec’s deputy premier said Monday the situation is "under control in the province despite the rising number of new cases."
Montreal  Quebec skyline
Montreal, Quebec skyline
Taxiarchos228. (CC BY 3.0)
In all the provinces, the relaxation by the public of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has become evident, based on the slow increases across the board.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix noted that while 102 new infections might not be large in comparison with numbers reported in other parts of North America, "it is a lot more than we are comfortable with." But what he has to say can apply across the country.
THere is a way to contain the virus, by keeping groups at gatherings small, wearing masks, and practising good personal hygiene. As Dr. Henry says, "We are no longer having safe interactions."
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