Ottawa (Canada), December 19: Canadian COVID-19 cases are expected to surpass the 500,000 level on Saturday as the country saw an increase of 4,671 new cases on Friday, bringing the national total to 493,309, according to CTV.
COVID-19 deaths rose to 14,004 as of Friday afternoon.
Canada reported 7,008 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Thursday although the country had strengthened measures against the novel coronavirus spread.
The national average case count is now over 6,650 cases reported daily over the last seven days, the Public Health Agency of Canada said Friday.
"With ongoing high rates of infection in many areas of the country, the number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase," the agency said.
Over the past week, there have been on average almost 4,000 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including 650 in critical care, and 115 deaths reported each day.
"At this time, it is also crucial for us to continue with individual efforts to protect our families, friends and communities against COVID-19," added the agency.
Ontario, Canada's most populous province, announced stricter COVID-19 restrictions for its five regions Friday morning, including for Hamilton, which will go into lockdown on Monday.
The Ontario government also announced that Toronto and Peel Region will remain in lockdown until at least Jan. 4. The lockdowns in Toronto and Peel Region were set to expire on Monday, but have been extended due to the rising number of new cases.
Nearly all non-essential businesses are forced to close when a region goes into the lockdown level.
As hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to rise in another populous province of Quebec, beds are being set up in "unconventional" places like hotel rooms and reception halls in the province, the Quebec government said Friday.