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Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on October 22, 2020

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OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 22, 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 first cases were reported in March 2020, there have been 206,360 cases of COVID-19, including 9,829 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, 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. 

At this time, there are 22,783 active cases across the country and the latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 2,425 new cases (Oct 15-21) and 74,719 people tested, with 3.1% testing positive (Oct 11-17).    

The number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase. Provincial and territorial data indicate that an average of close to 1000 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Oct 15-21), including around 200 of whom were being treated in intensive care units. During the same period, there were an average of 24 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.”

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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