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

File photo
Surrey Downtown BIA launches shop local campaign

Meantime, BC Buy Local Week runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 in Surrey

Surrey RCMP have provided shoppers with a number of holiday-shopping safety tips. (Unsplash photo)
Surrey RCMP offers holiday-shopping safety tips

Be safe when purchasing items online or through marketplace-type apps, police warn

Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘immediate’ government help for businesses shut down

‘Don’t punish all businesses for the sins of a few,’ CEO Anita Huberman says

The 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Mammography machine, new to the Surrey Breast Health Clinic at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (submitted photo)
New 3D breast-cancer technology in Surrey ‘has already helped so many women’

Digital breast tomosynthesis new to Surrey Breast Health Clinic

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

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

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

Most Read