OTTAWA, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Canada reported 23,586 new COVID-19 cases Monday evening, raising its national total to 2,801,446 with 30,946 deaths, CTV reported.
Ontario, the most populous province in the country, reported 8,521 new cases and 22 deaths on Monday while Quebec, the second-most populous province, confirmed 5,400 new cases and 54 fatalities.
Kids and teens are among the rising number of Canadians being hospitalized with COVID-19 as Omicron infections keep surging across the country. Multiple hospitals have seen an uptick in young patients infected with the Omicron variant.
However, amid record-high COVID-19 case counts, millions of Canadian students headed back to school on Monday as four provinces -- Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia in the country -- worked to keep classrooms safe against the threats from the COVID-19 and the Omicron-driven staff shortages.
Deploying rapid antigen tests and upgrading air quality in schools are among the steps that the provincial governments said they've taken ahead of the return to class, with some of the work still underway.
Still, some parents and teachers unions voiced concerns that those efforts won't be enough to keep classrooms safe and ensure the operation of the schools.
On Monday, Canada authorized the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, the first oral and at-home prescription medication to be cleared for use in this country, which can be given to adults aged 18 and older to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.