Two Provinces Hardest Hit by COVID-19 See Cases Trend Downward Over Last Week Totals

January 20, 2021 Updated: January 20, 2021

The two provinces hardest hit by COVID-19 recorded a decline in new cases this week as Canada grapples with delays in its immunization plans.

Quebec and Ontario, which account for the bulk of the country’s COVID-19 cases, have both seen new infections trend downwards compared to last week’s totals.

Quebec marked a fourth consecutive day with fewer than 2,000 new cases, reporting 1,502 on Wednesday.

Premier Francois Legault suggested the shift may stem from the provincial curfew imposed nearly two weeks ago, which requires residents to be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The measure, which will remain in place until at least Feb. 8, was put in place in an effort to reduce transmission of the virus as hospitals face increased strain due to the pandemic.

However, health experts warn it’s too early to know whether the change can be attributed to the curfew, with some noting it is only one of a series of restrictions implemented to bring down case counts.

Ontario, meanwhile, recorded 2,655 new cases on Wednesday, higher than Tuesday’s count but a decline from last week, where it saw around 3,000 new cases each day.

Health officials across the country are also having to deal with an impending pause in deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

In Manitoba, health officials said Wednesday that no vaccine appointments are being cancelled, though the province will receive roughly half the doses it expected over the next four weeks.

The province has also seen daily numbers drop recently in most areas except the north, reporting 153 new cases on Wednesday. Officials are considering loosening some of the measures related to stores and public gatherings in southern and central regions sometime this week.

The federal government has said Canada won’t receive any doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week after the company advised it is slowing production at its Belgium facility to make upgrades that will eventually boost its output.

Ottawa further noted it can’t tell provinces how many doses they’ll get over the next month as a result of the changes at Pfizer.

Canada was scheduled to get 417,000 doses over the next two weeks, and now expects to receive about 171,000.

The federal government also moved Wednesday to extend restrictions on international travel into Canada from countries aside from the U.S. until at least Feb. 21.

Proof of a negative COVID−19 molecular test is required for any air travellers five years or older boarding an international flight to Canada, and anyone coming into the country must follow isolation or quarantine rules.