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 dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Volunteers from the Elk River Alliance cleared 14 car batteries from the Elk River near Elkford this week. (Photo contributed)
Elk River Alliance to move to more holistic environmental monitoring

The details of the ERA’s 2021 program will be discussed at the AGM next month

The Kitimat RCMP responded to false alarms, an apartment fire and more between Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Sparwood backs campaign to study Surrey RCMP impact

The City of Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in the province

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

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

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read