OTTAWA -- COVID-19 is continuing to strain Canada's healthcare system despite a seven-day average of 8,444 new cases daily between April 16 and 22, a 2.6 percent decrease from the previous seven-day period, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada on Saturday.
In a statement issued Saturday afternoon, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said average weekly rates of admission to hospitals, including intensive care units, continued rising.
On average 4,167 COVID-19 patients were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the week of April 16 to 22, marking a 22 percent increase over the week before.
Tam said that included an average of 1,268 people requiring intensive care each day, which was 21 percent more than in the previous week.
As of April 22, a total of 78,729 variant of concern cases had been reported across Canada, including 75,413 involving the B.1.1.7 variant, 2,853 the P.1 variant and 463 the B.1.351 variant, Tam said in the statement.
These represented the tip of the iceberg, as there were many more COVID-19 cases that had screened positive for mutations indicative of variants of concern, she said.
At the same time, the continued rise in P.1 cases remained concerning, particularly with early evidence suggesting the P.1 variant might reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, making it even more important to control its spread, Tam said.
As of Friday, Canada, with a population of 38 million, administered almost 11.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Tam added.
On Saturday afternoon, Canada reported 5,837 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the cumulative total to 1,170,412 cases, including 23,922 deaths and 1,060,375 recoveries, according to CTV.
Also on Saturday afternoon, CTV reported a total of 86,297 variant of concern cases across Canada, including 82,769 cases involving the B.1.1.7 variant, 3,008 cases of P.1 and 520 cases of B.1.351.