Canadians need to stay vigilant in fight against COVID-19

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement:

“There have been 113,206 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 8,881 deaths. 87% of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada have tested over 3,717,483 people for COVID-19 to date. Over the past week, an average of 44,000 people were tested daily, with 1% testing positive and an average of over 485 cases being reported daily from across the country.

After months of staying home, many of us may be experiencing a bit of COVID-19 fatigue and backsliding on some important personal public health practices, like maintaining physical distancing from those outside our social bubble. The biggest cause of concern is the recent uptick of cases across the country.

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As social and economic spaces open up, we do expect to see an increase in cases. The key is to identify and test cases rapidly, and conduct contact tracing in a timely way so that we can immediately stop any outbreaks and ongoing transmission.

Our goal in public health is to reduce cases, and reduce instances of severe illness and death during this pandemic.

Canadians helped our country to successfully flatten the curve, and Canada’s health care system was fortunately not overwhelmed. Canadians have done a great job in following public health measures, such as maintaining physical distancing, practising good hygiene and donning masks when indoors in public spaces. Most importantly, Canadians have been staying home when sick, getting tested, and following the advice of their local public health authorities to keep themselves and others safe.

I want Canadians to take to heart that even though we have done well, all it takes is letting our guard down, a lack of understanding, or forgetfulness, to compromise the gains we have achieved together.

We can continue to work together to keep cases low in our communities. Our individual actions tangibly make a difference, so we must keep up our good work by continuing to:

• Stay home and away from others if you are sick;

• Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces and objects;

• Wash our hands frequently;

• Cover our coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;

• Practice physical distancing, and

• Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when physical distancing is difficult to maintain, and/or when mandated by local authorities.

Canada’s public health officials are concerned about the increasing number of reports of individuals contracting COVID-19 at parties, nightclubs and bars, as well as increasing rates of transmission among young Canadians in some jurisdictions across the country.

The bottom line is that every single one of us is at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19--even the youngest and most active among us. We are all in this together and have a shared responsibility to help keep COVID-19 transmission low.

If all Canadians commit to keeping their number of contacts limited to a small and consistent social bubble, it will limit the opportunities for spread of the virus, and make it quicker and easier for public health authorities to test and trace all potential cases and contacts, if someone in your circle does get sick. This will prevent further transmission of the virus and keep COVID-19 under control.”