Canada Sees Record-Breaking 14,456 New COVID-19 Cases Amid Omicron Spread

Canada added a record 14,456 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as the federal government revealed expanded aid benefits to help those impacted by the rapid spread of Omicron.

The new infections bring Canada’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 1,922,227. Another 27 deaths linked to COVID-19 were announced Canada-wide as well, pushing the death toll to 30,112.

So far, more than 1.8 million patients have recovered after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and 65,807,168 vaccinations have been administered to date.

The new daily infections tallied on Wednesday represent the highest ever new infections recorded in a single day so far since the pandemic, according to Global News data.

Currently, the data also points to Canada registering another pandemic high: a seven-day average of 8,930 cases as of Dec. 21.

Wednesday’s figures come amid growing concerns from government and public health officials over the spread of the new, highly-contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant.

In a press briefing Wednesday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that there were at least 2,360 confirmed cases of the variant identified in the country to date.

Since the variant was first identified in Canada, provinces like Ontario, B.C. and Quebec have re-enacted strict public health restrictions in the last several weeks to curb a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

In response to the public health measures — which include limiting the capacities of restaurants and stores by 50 percent — the federal government on Wednesday introduced an expansion to the eligibility of its new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB).

The expansion now allows for any worker to apply for the $300-per-week program if their workplace has been hit with the capacity-limiting restriction of 50 percent or more.

The expanded eligibility only applies until Feb. 12, 2022, while the CWLB lasts until May 7, 2022.

You would also need to have lost 50 percent or more of your income as a result of capacity limits in order to apply for the benefit, according to the government.

“We’re temporarily expanding eligibility for key programs. For the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit and the Local Lockdown program, you will be able to apply if you’re subject to capacity-limiting restrictions,” announced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier Wednesday.

“Here’s the bottom line: we need, all of us, (to) do what it takes so Canadians are protected and to have what you need to weather the storm.”

Last Thursday, there were more than 43,000 active COVID-19 cases across Canada — a number that has nearly doubled in less than a week, standing now at just over 82,000.

“In less than a week, we’ve seen a rapid acceleration of epidemic activity in locations across Canada,” said Tam.

“While Delta is still spreading in many areas, Omicron is increasingly responsible for a rapid rise in case counts.”

Tam warned that infections in Canada could be higher by the beginning of the new year unless the spread is slowed.

Trudeau, meanwhile, urged Canadians to “hunker down in the coming weeks.”

“I know nobody wants to be in this situation right now, but Canadians have shown we’re there for our neighbours, we’re there for our most vulnerable, we’re there for our front-line healthcare workers … we know that as long and dark as winters can be, spring is coming and spring will be better if we hunker down in the coming weeks,” Trudeau said.

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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