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:
“There have been 162,659 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,409 deaths. Laboratories across Canada continue to test at a high rate, with an average of over 71,000 people tested daily last week and 1.8% of these testing positive. 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 on Tuesday, once these numbers have been compiled. We are also keeping a close watch on severe outcomes of COVID-19, including the average number hospitalised on any given day, which has been increasing in areas with high infection rates. Likewise, we are closely monitoring the average number of deaths being reported daily.
We should all be aware that these numbers reflect past events, they include private gatherings and other encounters where we got too close for too long, let too many people into our protected contact bubble, and did not employ all of the precautions at our disposal to reduce the risk of infection and spreading the virus. As lagging indicators, hospitalizations and deaths that are being reported now reflect infections that occurred from one to several weeks ago, so the worry is that we have yet to see the extent of these severe outcomes.
Even more concerning is the fact that epidemic growth is continuing to accelerate and spread, increasing the number of health regions experiencing high incidence. Our chance to prevent a large resurgence narrows with each passing day of accelerated epidemic growth. Public health testing and tracing remains vital, but it is clear that without all of us making hard choices now to reduce our in-person contacts and maintain layers of personal protections at all times, it won’t be enough to prevent a large resurgence.
This is nowhere more important than in areas where infection rates are highest and local public health, health care and laboratory services are already being stretched. Our efforts to reduce in-person contacts and layer up with protections works to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our best offence against COVID-19. That is, the local public health system’s ability to rapidly detect and trace to interrupt new chains of transmission and knock down the infection rate by “cluster-busting”. Every cluster where we can detect and isolate cases and trace and quarantine contacts serves to bust what would otherwise amplify the spread of the virus. But when public health resources are stretched and the number of contacts are high, the virus has the upper hand. Your actions matter and every little bit helps.
Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safer will require conscious and consistent efforts as we continue to live with COVID-19. This weekend, take some time to plan new and creative ways for your family/close contacts bubble to remain engaged and connected with others through virtual and other safe distancing ways. At the same time, let’s all commit to doing our part to bolster our public health offence against COVID-19. Read through my backgrounder on risks and precautions to consider and links to more COVID-19 information and resources.”
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada