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Students cross the street at Tomken Road Middle School in Mississauga, Ont., on April 1, 2021. Ontario has entered a new level of restrictions, but Doug Ford's government says schools will remain open.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Canada has recorded more than a million cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the global pandemic.

The national tally inched past the bleak threshold on Saturday when British Columbia reported 2,090 new infections over the course of two days.

Canada has been recording about 100,000 new cases every three to four weeks, surging past the 900,000 mark on March 13.

But case counts have begun rising again in several provinces, prompting officials to impose new public health restrictions in a bid to contain what health authorities are describing as the virus’s third wave.

Two-day COVID-19 case count in Ontario crests 6,000

In Ontario, the province is reporting more than 3,000 new COVID-19 infections a day over the past 48 hours, along with 39 new virus-related deaths over the same two-day stretch.

The province logged 3,009 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday and 3,089 cases Friday, a day on which data sharing was paused for the Good Friday holiday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says Toronto and Peel Region remain the most active zones for the virus, with Hamilton and Ottawa also seeing higher local case loads.

There are 796 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, with 451 patients in intensive care and 261 on a ventilator.

The latest figures come as a provincewide shutdown takes effect across Ontario.

The latest measures mean personal services, gyms and indoor dining must shut down, but schools and most retailers can stay open with specific capacity limits in place.

Ontario says 147,749 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Thursday’s report. A total of 2,424,063 vaccine doses have been given in the province so far.

Health Canada issues recall on certain masks

Meanwhile, across the country, Health Canada has issued a recall on disposable masks containing a material made of tiny particles it says could pose a danger if inhaled.

The agency is advising people not to wear masks with graphene or biomass graphene because its preliminary assessment of the available research suggests the particles cause early lung toxicity in animals, though the risks to humans are not yet known.

It says variables such as the design of a mask, how long it’s worn and the type of graphene material used would all affect the potential to inhale particles from the material that is reported to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Health Canada says in an advisory that it has requested data from mask manufacturers to assess the potential health risks related to face coverings that contain graphene.

It has directed distributors, importers and manufacturers to stop selling the masks and has also advised provinces and territories to halt their use.

The agency says anyone who has worn a graphene mask should consult their health-care provider if they have concerns such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

It says the masks have been used in schools and daycares by adults and children alike.

The agency says they may have also been used in some health-care settings.

Elsewhere in Canada:

  • Quebec is reporting 1,282 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday and three additional deaths. The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations declined by two to 501, while the number of people in intensive care rose by three to 124. Public health authorities say 47,194 doses of vaccine were administered Friday, for a total of 1,488,347. Quebec has reported a total of 314,958 cases of COVID-19 and 10,684 deaths linked to the disease.
  • Health officials are urging British Columbia residents not to travel outside their community as the province set back-to-back records for the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in a single day. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say in a joint statement Saturday that B.C. had 1,072 infections in the last 24 hours, surpassing the previous highest daily total of 1,018 cases a day earlier.
  • Manitoba is reporting 181 new COVID-19 cases over the past 48 hours. The province says the total released Saturday includes cases from a day earlier, since it didn’t issue a report on the Good Friday holiday. Three cases have been removed from the province’s overall tally due to data correction. Manitoba is also reporting one new death – a woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg health region.
  • New Brunswick is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19, bringing the province’s active case count to 153. Health officials say two cases are currently under investigation in the Saint John region and involve a pair in their 40s. The other seven cases were identified in the Edmundston region – five infections are connected to previously confirmed cases and the other two are under investigation. Health officials have also announced an outbreak at Résidence Rolande Long in Edmundston after identifying one case of the disease.
  • Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting four new cases of COVID-19 Saturday. Two cases have been identified in the central health region which includes Halifax – one is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada while the other is a close contact of a previously reported case. The other two infections were found in the eastern zone and are both related to out-of-region travel. Nova Scotia now has 32 active cases of COVID-19.
  • In the NHL, seven Vancouver Canucks have been added to the COVID protocol list, bringing the team’s total to 14. The league announced Saturday that goaltender Thatcher Demko, defenceman Tyler Myers and forwards Bo Horvat, Tyler Motte, Travis Boyd, Jayce Hawryluk and Brandon Sutter have been added to the list. They join goaltender Braden Holtby, defencemen Alex Edler, Quinn Hughes and Travis Hamonic and forwards Adam Gaudette, Zack MacEwan and Antoine Roussel.

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