Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on COVID-19


May 18, 2020 - Ottawa, ON - Public Health Agency of Canada

In lieu of a daily in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement today:

"As of Monday, May 18, there are 77,306 COVID-19 cases, including 5,805 deaths. More than 38,828 or 50 per cent of cases are now recovered. Labs across Canada have tested 1,319,000 people for COVID-19 to date, with about 5 per cent of these testing positive. We are now testing an average of 26,000 to 28,000 people daily. These numbers represent what we know at this moment, and change quickly. I encourage Canadians to consult for the latest information.

As the May long weekend comes to an end, I am instilled with the confidence that Canadians have been able to take care of themselves and others and will continue to follow public health advice in the months ahead. Usually, this holiday marks the unofficial kickoff to summer and its seasonal traditions, such as hosting barbeques, watching fireworks together or going on road trips. However, this year, many of the social activities we cherish are being restricted to control the spread of COVID-19.

I recognize this ongoing vigilance has been challenging. But to maintain our progress, we need to continue public health practices of keeping two metres of physical distance from others, avoiding touching common surfaces, and cleaning our hands often and thoroughly. Wearing a non-medical mask or facial covering may also be recommended in some areas as an added layer of protection when you cannot keep a 2-metre physical distance. As always, following the advice of your local public health authority is important for specific recommendations based on COVID-19 activity in your area.

Our actions and perseverance are so important to protect the progress we've made and give us the best chance of staying steady on our current downward trajectory. In the next few weeks, many graduation ceremonies may go virtual, proms will be cancelled, but we must not give up hope. We still have much to learn about this virus, but we are making progress with new testing capabilities and a clinical trial for a vaccine candidate."


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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