Canada slowly reopens as third wave of the pandemic takes heavy toll on hospitals

People gather next to the Lachine Canal on a warm spring day in Montreal, Saturday, May 15, 2021.

(CNN)Several Canadian provinces are cautiously announcing reopening plans as the country slowly recovers from a third wave of Covid-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said Tuesday that the infection rate has fallen about 40% since the peak of activity in mid-April.
However, she said that hospitalizations and critical care admissions have only dropped by 15% and 10%, respectively.
    Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was hopeful the accelerating pace of vaccination would enable the country to return to a more normal way of life by fall.
      "We will have more than enough doses in Canada by the end of June to give a first dose to every Canadian who wants one, and second doses will continue to ramp up through June and into the summer," Trudeau said during a press conference in Ottawa Tuesday.
        Health Canada said more than half of all Canadians are now partially vaccinated but less than 5% are fully vaccinated.
        With new, daily cases of Covid-19 dropping, both British Columbia and Quebec announced reopening plans Tuesday that were still cautious compared to the US and the UK.
          In British Columbia, residents can now meet a few friends at a restaurant and dine indoors again and, significantly, people can start inviting visitors into their homes again.
          The provincial government laid out a phased-in re-opening that will allow for more organized sports, travel and larger indoor gatherings later in spring and early summer.
          Quebec announced it would finally lift a months-long curfew throughout the province this Friday, restaurant patios can also reopen everywhere and small social gatherings outside can resume.
          But it was a different picture in Manitoba, where the province is in the middle of a devastating third wave. To cope with rising intensive care admissions, public health officials said they will continue to transfer patients out of province and are even looking into the possibility of sending patients to North Dakota for treatment, but only if absolutely necessary.
            According to Johns Hopkins University data, Manitoba currently has the highest rate of infection of any province or state over the last seven days.
            "This reckless behavior of some is threatening the ability of our health care system to care for those most in need including themselves," Brian Pallister, Manitoba's premier, said at a news conference Tuesday regarding people flouting Covid-19 restrictions.