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 131,495 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,143 deaths. Eighty-eight per cent of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada tested an average of almost 46,000 people daily over the past week with 0.9% testing positive.
With the continued increase in daily cases, including an average of 545 cases being reported daily across Canada over past week, we are keeping a very watchful eye for signs of COVID-19 spread into high-risk populations or settings. Last week I noted that we are closely monitoring hospitalisations, critical care admissions and deaths for possible indications of increased severity of COVID-19, which may indicate spread among those at higher risk. Although these indicators remain low at present, they are known to lag behind real-time increases in COVID-19 illness by a few to many weeks. Hence, shifts in age trends and outbreak settings are also important to watch for indications of COVID-19 spread into populations and settings that may be at higher risk for severe outcomes.
In terms of age, the trend of increased disease activity among younger individuals has continued for many weeks, with people under 40 years of age accounting for over 62% of cases in the latest data reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Among these, males and females aged 20 to 29 years continue to have the highest incidence rates, with 10.7 and 11.4 cases reported per 100,000 population, respectively. Incidence rates for males and females aged 30-39 years of age are next highest with 8.4 and 8.0 cases reported per 100,000 population. Likewise, during the month of August we saw outbreak settings include food, drink and retail venues that tend to draw in this younger age demographic.
However, the highest number of outbreaks continue to occur in long-term care homes and seniors residences. While many of these outbreaks involve very few cases owing to increased vigilance and sensitive surveillance in high risk settings, each introduction increases the risk for severe illness outcomes of COVID-19.
For more information on outbreak activity and updated epidemiological information on COVID-19 in Canada, see the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiology Report for August 23-29, 2020.
As I mentioned yesterday, COVID-19 spread among any age group is a risk to everyone and increases the risk of spread to people at high risk of COVID-19 severe outcomes. We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. This long weekend lets continue to do our very best to keep the infection rate low. You can find additional information and guidance here to help you make informed decisions that will reduce your risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to your family, contacts and community.”