Canada adds 6,292 new coronavirus infections as country approves vaccine

© Provided by Global News On Monday, London and Middlesex County entered into the orange-restrict tier of Ontario's coronavirus response framework amid a local surge in new cases of COVID-19.

Health officials in Canada reported 6,292 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total case count to 434,967.

Another 116 people have also died after testing positive for COVID-19, authorities said.

Since the virus was first detected, it has claimed 12,983 lives in Canada.

However, 350,011 people have recovered after contracting the respiratory illness, while 15,792,288 tests have been administered.

On Wednesday, there were also a total of 3,121 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, surpassing the number of hospitalizations during the first wave of the pandemic.

The previous record was set in early May, when 3,056 people were in hospital.

Read more: Canada approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, will start administering ‘within days’

The new cases come as the federal government announced Health Canada has approved a COVID-19 vaccine from American pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

“The availability of a safe and effective vaccine will reduce the spread and severity of COVID-19 disease and reduce its social and economic consequences,” Health Canada said on Wednesday, adding the data confirms the vaccine is roughly 95 per cent effective, and was “well tolerated” with no serious safety concerns.

Video: Health Canada approves use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who is leading Canada’s vaccine distribution plans, said he expects Pfizer will ship the vaccines from Belgium on Friday and the doses could begin arriving on Monday or Tuesday.

According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 30,000 doses are expected to arrive as early as Monday.

“Up to 249,000 doses are coming this month, with millions more in the new year,” he wrote in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

New cases in the provinces

In Ontario, 1,890 new cases of the virus were detected on Wednesday, and health officials said 28 more people had died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The new infections bring the province’s total case load and death toll to 132,800 and 3,836 respectively.

Read more: Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is not approved for Canadians under 16. Here’s why

Meanwhile, in Quebec, 1,728 new infections and 36 more fatalities were reported.

So far, the province has seen 156,468 cases of COVID-19, along with 7,349 deaths.

Saskatchewan saw 302 new cases and five more fatalities on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to 10,899 and pushing the death toll to 71.

Health officials in Manitoba reported 279 new infections and said 18 more people had died.

To date, 19,655 people have contracted the virus in the province, and 438 have died.

Eight new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Atlantic Canada on Wednesday.

Nova Scotia reported six new cases of the respiratory illness, but said no new deaths had occurred.

The province has now seen 1,389 infections and 65 fatalities.

Video: Coronavirus: Over 100 participants to conduct ‘rehearsal of concept’ regarding vaccine distribution

Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick each saw one new infection, bringing the provincial case counts to 353 and 542 respectively.

Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island did not add any new cases.

Seventy-one of the island’s 84 confirmed cases are considered to be recovered.

None of the maritime provinces reported any new deaths associated with the virus on Wednesday.

In western Canada, 2,075 new cases were reported on Wednesday.

Health authorities in Alberta said 1,460 new cases were detected, and 13 more people have died.

The province has seen 73,488 COVID-19 infections and 653 deaths, to date.

In British Columbia, 619 new cases were reported, four of which are epidemiologically-linked, meaning they have not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.

The new infections bring the province’s total case count to 38,974.

Provincial health authorities said 16 more people have died after contracting the virus.

A total of 559 have now died in B.C. after testing positive for COVID-19.

New cases in the territories

Nine new infections were reported in Nunavut, bringing the territory’s total case load to 229.

Neither the Yukon or the Northwest Territories saw a new case of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday.

Read more: Canada monitoring Pfizer vaccine after U.K. allergic reactions

All 15 confirmed cases in the Northwest Territories are considered to be resolved, while 47 of 58 people have recovered from the virus in the Yukon.

Global cases near 69 million

Since the virus was first detected, it has infected 68,792,363 people around the world, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

As of 7 p.m. ET, it had claimed 1,567,056 lives globally.

— With files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly/Global News