There have been 166,156 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,481 deaths. Laboratories across Canada continue to test at a high rate, with an average of over 71,000 people tested daily last week and 1.7% of these testing positive. National daily case counts continue to increase steeply, with an average of more than 1,800 new cases being reported daily during the most recent 7 days. New cases in Ontario and Quebec account for over 80% of the cases reported nationally over this time period. The number of COVID-19 cases in hospital and the number of deaths reported daily have also increased. An average of 585 individuals with COVID-19 were in Canadian hospitals on any given day and 14 deaths were reported daily over the past week.
No matter the trajectory within your jurisdiction, we must all remain vigilant and committed to protect ourselves and those we care about. The accelerated spread in parts of Quebec and Ontario remind us how rapidly this virus can take hold. When case counts and the number of individuals they may have exposed are high, this places pressure on all parts of the public health response including our labs and contact tracers. Public health authorities across the country are continuing to increase their testing and tracing capacity but these resources have limits. At a certain point, reinstating some community-based public health measures, as we’ve observed in parts of Ontario and Quebec, is required to bring COVID-19 back down to manageable levels.
Public health can not do this alone. Infected people can spread COVID-19 before they show symptoms so we can’t tell who may be infectious or not. We must all keep our distance and keep our number of close contacts low. This will help to prevent spread and make it easier for public health authorities to identify and quarantine your contacts if you do contract COVID-19. We must also redouble our efforts to follow the other public health measures we know to be effective, regardless of where in the country we live.
Wash your hands frequently. Wear a non-medical mask or face covering where distancing is difficult. And stay home and self-isolate if you experience any symptoms, even mild ones.
While right now we are on the wrong trajectory in some parts of the country, if we all commit to doing our part to reduce the spread of the virus, I’m confident we can right the ship and plank the curve again. We can do this together.
I just want to end by giving a shout-out to Professor Michael Houghton at the University of Alberta, who is today, with his colleagues, jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. And of course, the discovery of this virus is extremely important now for the discovery of treatments and other ways of managing hepatitis C.