Speech

June 9, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create stress and anxiety for many Canadians, particularly those who do not have ready access to their regular support networks. Through the Wellness Together Canada online portal, people of all ages across the country can access immediate, free and confidential mental health and substance use supports, 24 hours a day, seven

Nationally, all indicators of COVID-19 disease activity and severity continue to decline. This week, 7-day averages for case counts have fallen below 1,800 cases reported daily for the first time since the fall of 2020! The latest 7-day average for the number of people with COVID-19 being treated in our hospitals each day has dropped more than 55% since the peak to under 2,000 daily. Of these, on average, less than 850 were being treated in intensive care units, which is 40% fewer than the peak number, and average daily deaths are also down to almost 40% to 32 deaths being reported daily.

I know we are all eager to do more of the things we miss and as provinces and territories accelerate second dose programs over the coming weeks, we are moving ever more quickly towards this. As always, things are not the same for everyone, everywhere, so deciding when and what layers of protection to peel back depends on several variables, such as our personal and family health and vaccination status, COVID-19 activity levels in the community, and what settings and activities we are engaging in.

Though each of us have different health, work and family circumstances that affect our risk comfort level, expanding one-dose programs has provided many more people with priming immune protection to reduce the risk of serious harms from COVID-19 infection.

But one dose of protection is not enough. Based on estimates before the Delta variant was circulating, an estimated one third of people can still get infected after just the priming dose and an estimated 20% can develop serious illness. These estimates may be different with the Delta variant or other, future variants. This is why public health measures and individual precautions continue to be important while COVID-19 is still circulating widely and second dose programs are ramping up.

Getting fully vaccinated, with a second immune-boosting dose, substantially lowers our personal risk of infection and serious harms, provides stronger protection against certain variants of concern, including the Delta variant, and may make immunity last longer.

While we can all breathe a little easier knowing that more of us have received our first dose, with COVID-19 still circulating, we are all advised to continue following public health advice and keep up individual precautions, until more of us are fully vaccinated and COVID-19 infection rates are low.

Read my backgrounder to access COVID-19 Information and Resources, including information on vaccination and ways to reduce your risk of infection and spreading the virus to others.

Contacts

Media Relations

Public Health Agency of Canada

613-957-2983

hc.media.sc@canada.ca

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