Statement from Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on 2 October

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

“There have been 158,758 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,297 deaths. Over the past week, labs across the country tested an average of over 71,000 people daily with 1.8% testing positive. Daily case counts continue to rise with an average of 1,572 new cases being reported daily across Canada during the most recent 7 days. The majority (around 80%) of these cases have been reported by Quebec and Ontario. Both of these provinces have also observed a rise in the number of cases hospitalized over the past few weeks. Nationally, there have been on average 480 individuals with COVID-19 in Canadian hospitals each day and 8 deaths reported daily over the past week.

Today is National Seniors Day (as well as International Day of Older Persons), an occasion for all of us to celebrate older adults across our country. COVID-19 has been especially devastating to older persons and their loved ones. During the initial wave, over 1000 separate outbreaks occurred in long-term care and assisted living homes, accounting for about 20% of confirmed cases and tragically over 80% of all deaths.

Although we are not currently seeing the same levels of transmission among older adults, this population remains at high risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19. Each of us can do our part to lower the risk of transmission to others, including older adults, by consistently following the public health measures we know to be effective. Practise physical distancing, wash your hands frequently, and wear a non-medical mask or face covering in closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact situations where distancing is difficult. Most importantly, stay home and isolate yourself from others if you have symptoms, even mild ones.

The pandemic may also be having a greater impact on the mental health of older populations, causing heightened feelings of loneliness, sadness, distress or hopelessness. Physical distancing has made visits with family and friends very challenging for many. I urge everyone to check in regularly with older family members, friends and the elderly in our communities virtually, by phone, or even by mail or care package. This can go a long way to support a loved one, as well as add to your self-care during this particularly challenging time. It is also important for seniors to stay as physically active as possible, whether at home or by getting outdoors for a walk.

And if you are someone who needs help, know that you are not alone and do not wait to seek out a range of supports. Visit Wellness Together Canada for mental health resources, including access to professional counselling services.

Canadians of all ages, let’s work together so that we can all be safe.

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