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Canada adds another 2,752 coronavirus cases as feds express vaccine optimism

Click to play video 'Canada’s top doctor says COVID-19 vaccines ‘play a critical role’ in easing public health measures' Canada’s top doctor says COVID-19 vaccines ‘play a critical role’ in easing public health measures
WATCH: Canada’s top doctor says COVID-19 vaccines ‘play a critical role’ in easing public health measures

Canada added another 2,752 cases of the novel coronavirus Tuesday as federal officials promised the country’s vaccination program is set to ramp up again this week.

The new infections brought the national count to 852,274 cases since the pandemic began last spring. Of those, at least 799,835 patients have recovered to date.

Another 39 people have died of complications from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 21,762.

Read more: Feds don’t intend to set ‘official date’ to lift all COVID-19 restrictions

The new cases and deaths came as the government begins to recover from multiple delays to vaccine deliveries, which have hampered the rollout across the country.

Click to play video 'Rising COVID-19 R value causes concern in B.C, Alberta, Saskatchewan' Rising COVID-19 R value causes concern in B.C, Alberta, Saskatchewan
Rising COVID-19 R value causes concern in B.C, Alberta, Saskatchewan

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said there are 3.5 million doses being shipped in March, which is enough to vaccinate more than 112,000 people every day.

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She said an additional 640,000 doses will be shipped during this final week of February.

Canada’s vaccine program slowed between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14 when production issues limited shipments to fewer than 350,000 doses. But most provinces have now completed vaccinations in long-term care, or are close to doing so, and many are expanding to seniors living independently.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canada to receive over 640,000 vaccine doses this week, Anand says' Coronavirus: Canada to receive over 640,000 vaccine doses this week, Anand says
Coronavirus: Canada to receive over 640,000 vaccine doses this week, Anand says

As of Tuesday, more than 1.6 million doses have been administered across the country, according to provincial and territorial data. More than 455,000 Canadians have received two doses of a vaccine as of Friday — about 0.81 per cent of the population, according to federal data.

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Quebec announced Tuesday people over the age of 85 can start being vaccinated next week. Nova Scotia is opening vaccinations to people over 80 this week, and Alberta to people over 75. Ontario and British Columbia both aim to expand to people over 80 by the middle of March.

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Read more: Coronavirus vaccine tracker: How many Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19?

While Canada is eyeing a potential return to normal life by September, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters Tuesday that some lockdown measures could be lifted earlier if the vaccination rate continues to improve.

Click to play video 'How COVID-19 vaccination plans are evolving in Quebec, Ontario' How COVID-19 vaccination plans are evolving in Quebec, Ontario
How COVID-19 vaccination plans are evolving in Quebec, Ontario

“The key is to get the vaccine measures high so that we reduce the chances of those massive upswings of resurgence in order to keep society going,” she said.

“That’s absolutely the goal, but you can’t put an absolute date on one of these things.”

Tam has said the shrinking daily case counts compared to earlier this winter are also encouraging, but warns the emergence of multiple, more contagious variants of the virus means people must remain vigilant.

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Ontario added 975 new cases and 12 more deaths Tuesday, while Quebec reported another 13 deaths and 739 new cases.

In Atlantic Canada, 15 more cases were confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a major outbreak in the St. John’s area has begun to subside after spiking earlier this month — delaying the provincial election there.

While Nova Scotia added three more cases, neither New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island saw any new infections. None of the Atlantic provinces reported any new deaths Tuesday.

The Prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan reported 76 and 126 new cases, respectively. Another four people have died from COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, while Manitoba did not see any new deaths.

Read more: Coronavirus tracker: how many new cases of COVID-19 in Canada today?

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In western Canada, Alberta added another 267 cases and 10 deaths, and British Columbia saw 559 new infections and 1 more death.

Worldwide coronavirus infections crossed 112 million on Tuesday, with 112,075,694 cases confirmed as of 9 p.m. ET, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll now stands at 2,483,496.

The United States continues to lead the world in both infections, at 28.2 million, and deaths, which crossed half a million on Monday and sat at 502,517 Tuesday evening.

— With files from Global’s Rachael D’Amore and the Canadian Press