Statement from Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on 22 October

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

October 21, 2020Ottawa, ONPublic Health Agency of Canada

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 first cases were reported in March 2020, there have been 203,688 cases of COVID-19, including 9,794 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Though the numbers are high and continue to increase at an accelerated pace, 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 that will keep ourselves, our families and our communities safer.

Currently, cases of COVID-19 continue to increase across the country. At this time, there are 22,151 active cases across the country and the latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 2,401 new cases (Oct 14-20) and 74,719 people tested, with 3.1% testing positive (Oct 11-17).

The number of people experiencing severe illness is also increasing. Provincial and territorial data, indicate that an average of 979 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Oct 14-20), including 200 of whom were being treated in intensive care units. During the same period, there were an average of 20 COVID-19-related deaths reported daily.

As hospitalisations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts associated with the ongoing increase in COVID-19 disease activity. As well, influenza and respiratory infections typically increase during the Fall and Winter, placing increased demands on hospitals. This is why it is so important for people of all ages to maintain public health practises that keep respiratory infection rates low.

Canada needs a collective effort to sustain the public health response through to the end of the pandemic, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences. We can all do our part by keeping our number of in-person close contacts low and committing to proven effective public health practises; stay home/self-isolate if you have any symptoms, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask as appropriate, and keep up with hand, cough and surface hygiene. Canadians can also go the extra mile by sharing credible information on COVID-19 risks and prevention practises and measures to reduce COVID-19 in communities and by downloading the COVID Alert app to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 Information and Resources on ways to reduce the risks and protect yourself and others.”

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