Canadians can access comprehensive information and resources on COVID-19 on the Government of Canada coronavirus disease website Canada.ca/coronavirus, including updates on the current situation, self-assessment and mental and physical health resources. The website also provides guidance on limiting the spread of the virus to others in community, business and medical professional settings.
Immediate mental health and substance use supports are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to Canadians of all ages and at no cost, at the Wellness Together Canada online portal.
Additional information on the epidemiology of COVID-19 for public health professionals is available in the daily COVID-19 in Canada epidemiology update.
As always, I urge all Canadians to continue with our collective efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 in Canada, particularly as variants of concern now represent the majority cases nationally, contributing to epidemic growth in many areas of Canada. A range of community-based public health measures are in place to interrupt the spread of the virus. Living with COVID-19 means remaining aware of the risks for exposure in your area and making informed decisions based on the latest advice, including recommendations of public health authorities in your jurisdiction and local area.
As vaccine eligibility expands, Canadians are urged to get vaccinated and support others to get vaccinated. Regardless of vaccination status, strong public health measures must be sustained where COVID-19 is circulating and individual precautions are important everywhere, even as we continue to see more benefits of COVID-19 vaccination. Where infection rates remain high, it is important to limit close contacts to just those in our immediate household and reduce in-person interactions to essential errands and activities, while consistently maintaining key public health practices. In addition, limit the time you spend in settings and situations that have not implemented measures, protocols and policies to reduce the risk of exposure. At this time, Canadians are advised to avoid all non-essential travel. If you must travel outside Canada for essential reasons, be aware of the requirements for visiting other countries and for returning to Canada.
To keep yourself and others safer during COVID-19, think about the risks: ask yourself the questions in the below “Quick Checks” table to consider your risk, based on (A) your personal/close contacts’ risk factors and (B) risk factors posed by the setting/activity. Then, consider layering up with (C) things you can do to reduce your risk of infection and unintentionally spreading the virus.
As vaccine coverage increases across the country, it is still important to continue following local public health advice regardless of your vaccination status. Until vaccine coverage is sufficiently high to impact disease transmission more broadly in the community, we must maintain a high degree of caution with public health and individual measures and not ease restrictions too soon or too quickly where infection rates are high.