Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a Minister speak via video conference during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday November 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a Minister speak via video conference during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday November 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau warns premiers that feds don’t have ‘infinite’ resources for pandemic support

Number of severe cases in Canada continues to rise, with an average daily increase of 1,400 hospitalizations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning premiers that provinces need to take stronger action to stem the rapid spread of COVID-19 or the federal government could face “impossible decisions” about where to allocate its limited resources.

As several jurisdictions notched grim new records this week, Trudeau said Friday that it will take a collective effort from all levels of government to reverse the alarming trajectory of the outbreak.

He said individuals will also have to do their part by limiting their socializing with people outside their household. Trudeau said decisions now will determine what happens come the holiday season.

“We need to hang in there together for a little while longer,” Trudeau said. “What we do in the coming days and weeks will determine what we get to do at Christmas.”

Canada is reporting more than 45,000 active COVID-19 cases, the highest total since the pandemic began. There was also a new national daily high of 5,516 new cases on Thursday.

Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, said Canada is projected to hit 10,000 COVID-19 cases per day by early next month if the wildfire spread of the virus continues.

Tam said public health labs tested an average of close to 55,000 people daily over the past week and six per cent test positive.

The number of severe cases also continues to rise, with an average daily increase of 1,400 hospitalizations, including 280 in critical care, she said.

Trudeau said premiers told him about the challenges they’re facing during a conference call Thursday evening.

The prime minister said he assured the premiers his government is prepared to offer more support, but reminded them that “our resources are not infinite.”

He said without stricter provincial measures to rein in the surge in COVID-19 cases, there may not be enough federal help to go around.

“Controlling the virus now reduces the chances of impossible decisions and choices we might have to make down the road,” Trudeau said Friday.

He acknowledged that provinces continue to make tough but necessary decisions to control outbreaks in their communities, such as localized shutdowns and restrictions on businesses and activities.

But he said there’s a “threshold” at which the soaring tally of infections and hospitalizations will outpace the federal government’s ability to offer backup.

“If we have limited resources, we may at some point have to choose between helping one region or another,” Trudeau said in French.

The Canadian Medical Association echoed Trudeau’s appeals for provincial leaders to put people’s health ahead of business concerns.

In a news release Friday, the doctors’ group said Canada may be at a “tipping point” as the rising tide of cases pushes parts of the health-care system to near or full capacity.

“The measures being taken to mitigate the virus are not sufficient,” the association said. “The strength of the economy should not come at the expense of Canadians’ lives.”

Saskatchewan heeded the calls for tougher restrictions with a 28-day mandate expanding its mask rules and imposing a curfew on alcohol sales.

The province reported 81 new COVID-19 cases, a slight dip from the prior six days of more than 100 new daily infections.

Each of the Prairie provinces reported new highs in COVID-19 hospitalizations this week.

Manitoba reported 437 new COVID-19 cases and five additional virus-related deaths Friday, a day after new restrictions shut down many non-essential businesses across the province.

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,301 new cases of COVID-19 following a record-breaking three-day streak of more than 1,500 new cases per day.

Ontario lowered the thresholds for imposing stricter COVID-19 measures under its colour-coded framework Friday in light of what Premier Doug Ford called “alarming” new projections and the looming threat of another provincewide lockdown.

Trudeau also announced $1.5 billion in federal funding on Friday to help provinces retrain workers left jobless by the pandemic, on top of the $3.5 billion that had previously been committed.

The premiers and prime minister have agreed to meet early next month to discuss potential increases in federal funding through the Canada Health Transfer.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Green spaces have offered many a sense of peace throughout the pandemic. (Photo Contributed)
Nature Conservancy of Canada matches all donations on Dec. 1

The initiative honours Giving Tuesday, an initiative created to combat Black Friday’s consumerism

Signs are posted at the entrance of newly deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)
Teck hosts virtual Annual Outdoor Recreationalist Meeting

The Dec. 2 meeting will touch on biodiversity, reclamation, and road rehabilitation

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

File Photo
Missing hunter found dead in South Country

A hunter was reported as overdue on Nov. 29, and was found deceased on Nov. 30 following an RCMP and SAR operation

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read