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 127,673 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,113 deaths. Eighty-nine per cent of people have now recovered.
As public health authorities and Canadians continue with our collective effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, we are closely monitoring disease activity indicators including daily case counts, hospitalizations and critical care admission and the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in order to inform, adjust and adapt our actions as needed.
With an almost 13% increase in the average daily case count to 425 cases being reported across Canada daily over past week, we are keeping a very watchful eye for any increases in COVID-19 severity, such as increased hospitalizations, critical care admissions and deaths. Nationally, these indicators remain low having levelled off following a sharp and steady decline after mid-May. However, these are all considered “late indicators” of COVID-19 severity. This is because increases in hospitalizations, critical care admissions, and deaths are known to lag behind real-time increases in COVID-19 illness by a few to many weeks, respectively.
Considering the many weeks of increased disease activity in younger individuals, including almost 50% of reported cases occurring among young adults aged 20 to 39 years in recent weeks, there is very real possibility of the virus reaching higher risk individuals, populations and settings. As well, with mild and asymptomatic infection occurring more often in younger individuals, it is possible to spread the virus without realizing. Fortunately, we continue to test at a high rate, with an average of almost 48,000 people being tested daily across Canada. Currently, only 0.7% of these people test positive for COVID-19. Keeping our surveillance sensitive by casting the net wide to find cases is helping local public health authorities to detect and isolate cases and trace contacts to interrupt spread and keep COVID-19 under manageable control.
But as I have said, public health authorities can’t do this alone. To keep COVID-19 on the slow burn so we can all continue to enjoy activities while protecting our health, social and economic wellbeing, each of us has to do our very best to keep the infection rate low. Nobody said getting out of the escape room would be easy. It is going to take all of us working together to outsmart COVID-19 and open the door to our future. You can find additional information and guidance here to increase your COVID-19 know how and help you make informed decisions to reduce your risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to your family, contacts and community, including people at high risk of COVID-19 severe outcomes.
Don’t lose hope, stay the course and keep being part of the solution.”