September 26/20: Daily Update from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam

Dr. Theresa Tam

OTTAWA – COVID – In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement today:

“There have been 150,456 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,255 deaths. The percentage of recovered cases is currently at 86%. Laboratories across Canada continue to test at a high rate, with an average of almost 70,000 people tested daily last week and 1.4% of these testing positive. As of Friday September 25th, 2020, an average of 1,175 cases were being reported daily across Canada over a seven-day period. As some provinces and territories do not report new cases over the weekend, the next update for the average daily case count will be provided next Tuesday, once these numbers have been compiled.

As daily case counts continue to increase and another weekend is upon us, Canadians are urged to increase personal protective measures and reduce their number of close contacts as much as is possible considering personal and family circumstances. We also need to think about where and how the virus is surging and find safer ways to maintain the balance between maintaining our important routines and activities and keeping COVID-19 spread within manageable levels.

Despite the very real concern of a large resurgence in areas where the virus is escalating, there is still reason to be optimistic that we can get things back to the slow burn. In addition to knowing that our collective actions can and do work to slow the spread, we know that preventing spread in certain types of settings can have a big impact on slowing epidemic growth.

A number of the areas experiencing high infection rates have reported that certain events, like large private gatherings indoors and outdoors, have resulted in a high number of exposures and many people being infected. So even a single event of this nature can have far reaching effects, including taking a community off the slow burn track into an accelerated growth situation. But the reason for optimism is that if high transmission events like these can be interrupted early, before spreading through the community, growth can be brought under control more easily. The other point of optimism is that these types of spreading events are entirely preventable if proven effective precautions are followed. So this is a “learning to live with COVID-19 moment” that we cannot afford to ignore.

With fall celebrations ahead of us, including Thanksgiving weekend coming, it is time to take stock of all that we have learned about how to live with COVID-19 and be grateful for how we have adapted and built up our resilience. At the same time, we need to remember even if we know or are acquainted with people at a gathering, it doesn’t mean the risk of COVID-19 is reduced in any way. Even if people attending an event are part of your extended family, as has been the case with some of these private gathering outbreaks, it doesn’t mean they are not infected, even if no one appears to be unwell.

Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safer will require conscious and consistent efforts as we continue to live with COVID-19. Take some time this weekend for a family/close contacts meeting and make a plan to keep your consistent and trusted bubble safer, while finding new and creative ways to remain richly engaged and connected with others through virtual and other safe distancing ways. Read through my backgrounder on risks and precautions to consider and links to COVID-19 information and resources.”

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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