Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on November 28, 2020

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OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 28, 2020 /CNW/ – 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 start of the pandemic, there have been 359,064 cases of COVID-19, including 11,894 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Though the cumulative number is high and many areas are experiencing rapid growth, 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 to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. 

At this time, there are 60,666 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 5,335 new cases (Nov 20-26) and 75,666 people tested daily, with 7.6% testing positive (Nov 15-21). Both community transmission and outbreaks are contributing to COVID-19 spread in Canada, including spread to high risk populations and settings. Cases are increasing among older adults, with those aged 80 years and older currently having the highest incidence rate, nationally. More and larger outbreaks are occurring in long term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals, and spreading in Indigenous communities and more remote areas of the country. These developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies.

With continued rapid growth of the epidemic over many weeks in a growing number of health regions across Canada, the troubling rise in the number of people experiencing severe illness continues. Over the past week (Nov 20-26) there have been on average 2,111 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including 432 in critical care, and 76 deaths reported each day.

All jurisdictions are implementing a range of public health measures and urging their populations to do everything they can to limit contact with people outside of their household. Ultimately the concern is the same everywhere, continued spread of COVID-19 puts a strain on healthcare and essential services and threatens to overwhelm our capacity to respond. We are all in this together and impacts will affect all our wellbeing, which is why we are being called upon to take action to reduce the spread of the virus. If we continue on the current pace, our longer range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December.

Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory. Two things are being asked of us: to follow local public health advice as measures are introduced for controlling spread across the population and to strictly and consistently maintain our individual protective practices to help prevent infection and spreading the virus. Stay home and self-isolate if you have any symptoms, even mild ones; keep up with frequent hand, cough and surface hygiene; maintain physical distancing; wear a face mask when around people from outside of your immediate household; and avoid or limit time spent in the 3Cs – closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings and situations. 

Canadians can also go the extra mile by sharing credible information on COVID-19 risks and prevention practices and measures to reduce COVID-19 in communities and by downloading the COVID Alert app to break the cycle of infection and help limit the spread of COVID-19.

What comes next for us this Fall and Winter is for every one of us to determine, through our decisions and actions. Every effort you can make matters. Let’s bring COVID-19 down, together! Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 Information and Resources on ways to reduce the risks and protect yourself and others.”

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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