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Tam warns of increasing pressure on hospitals as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Last Updated Nov 15, 2020 at 8:37 am PST

FILE -- Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam arrives for a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday October 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

TORONTO — Canada’s top doctor says the country’s hospitals are facing growing pressure as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in much of the country.

Dr. Theresa Tam describes the situation in Western Canada, Quebec and Ontario as “worrisome” and says it’s straining health care resources.

Tam says the number of people with severe cases of COVID-19 continues to increase with a daily average of more than 1,400 people being treated in hospitals over the past week.

She says that includes a daily average of 280 people in critical care and 55 deaths reported each day over the past seven days.

Tam says Western provinces saw a weekly increase in daily hospitalization between 24 to 50 per cent compared to last week.

She says while Ontario and Quebec saw lower increases, those provinces continue to have the highest numbers of people in hospital.

Tam’s warnings come as Ontario and Quebec set new single-day records for new cases in the past 24 hours.

Ontario recorded 1,581 new diagnoses and 20 new deaths on Saturday, while Quebec posted 1,448 cases and 25 deaths linked to the virus.

Manitoba added 237 to its case count, along with multiple deaths tied to a long-term care facility in Winnipeg that’s the subject of a provincial investigation.

The surging figures come as Canadians across the country prepare to start celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among many political leaders urging celebrants to recognize the holiday virtually this year in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.