OTTAWA – In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement today:
“As the resurgence of COVID-19 activity continues in Canada, we are tracking a range of epidemiological indicators to monitor where the disease is most active, where it is spreading and how it is impacting the health of Canadians and public health, laboratory and healthcare capacity. The following is the latest summary on national numbers and trends, and the actions we all need to be taking to maintain COVID-19 at manageable levels across the country.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 342,444 cases of COVID-19, including 11,618 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Though the cumulative number is high and many areas are experiencing rapid growth, it is important to remember that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.
At this time, there are 57,435 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 5,139 new cases (Nov 18-24) and 75,666 people tested daily, with 7.6% testing positive (Nov 15-21). Both community transmission and outbreaks are contributing to COVID-19 spread in Canada, including spread to high risk populations and settings. Cases are increasing among older adults, particularly those aged 80 years and older who currently have the highest incidence rate, nationally. More and larger outbreaks are occurring in long term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals, and spreading in Indigenous communities and more remote areas of the country. These developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies.
Across Canada, the number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase. Provincial and territorial data, indicate that an average of 2,040 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Nov 18-24), including 421 of whom were being treated in intensive care units. During the same period, there were an average of 76 COVID-19-related deaths reported daily. This situation is putting pressure on local healthcare resources and forcing hospitals to make the difficult decision to cancel elective surgeries and procedures in several areas of the country.
Canada needs a collective effort, from public health authorities and individuals, to support and sustain the response through to the end of the pandemic, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences. Although it is still too early to know the impact of strengthened public health measures implemented in areas across Canada, we do know from the experience of many other countries that to be successful a package of measures is required and it’s not one size fits all. Most importantly, we know that public participation is vital to success.
This is why as public health authorities implement measures to interrupt spread, Canadians are being called upon. It is safest for all of us to limit errands and outings to just the essentials, limit in-person activities to just our existing household members and keep up with key prevention practices: stay home if you have symptoms, practise physical distancing and frequent handwashing, wear a face mask in indoor public places, and avoid the 3Cs, crowded places, closed spaces and close contact situations, whenever you can.
Canadians can also go the extra mile by sharing credible information on COVID-19 risks and prevention practices and measures to reduce COVID-19 in communities and by downloading the COVID Alert app to break the cycle of infection and help limit the spread of COVID-19.
What comes next for us this Fall and Winter is for every one of us to determine, through our decisions and actions. Every effort you can make matters. Let’s bring COVID-19 down, together! Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 Information and Resources on ways to reduce the risks and protect yourself and others.”
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada