Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on July 20, 2020


July 20, 2020  -  Ottawa, ON   -  Public Health Agency of Canada

In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement on behalf of Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.

“There have been 110,338 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 8,852 deaths. 88% of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada have tested over 3,520,000 people for COVID-19 to date. Over the past week, an average of 40,000 people were tested daily, with 1% testing positive.

It might seem odd that we are asking Canadians to “layer-up” in the middle of the summer, but we want Canadians to think about public health measures as “layers of protection” that should be incorporated into their daily routines during this pandemic.

Just like hats, gloves, mitts, and a winter jacket, one item alone is not enough to protect you from the elements. They are most effective when they’re combined.

If we think of public health measures as layers, the more layers we embrace as habits, the more we reduce our risk.

Build a base layer by sticking to the basics:

  • Physical distancing (maintaining a 2-metre distance from others)
  • Handwashing (frequently - with soap and water - especially before and after touching commonly touched surfaces, eating, or removing a mask or face covering)
  • Cough etiquette (cover your coughs and sneezes)
  • Staying home if sick
  • Sticking to a small, consistent social circle

Then, add layers for extra protection:

  • A non-medical mask or face covering to wear when it is difficult to maintain 2 metre physical distance from others and when mandated by local authorities
  • A pocket-sized hand sanitizer to take with you wherever you go.

Your outer layer is about making informed decisions about your personal risk, planning ahead and avoiding the 3 Cs:

  • Closed spaces with poor ventilation;
  • Crowded places with large numbers of people gathered; and
  • Close contact where you cannot keep two metres apart from others.

Always follow:

  • The advice of local public health as it is tailored to the area where you live.
  • The safety measures put in place by the establishment you are visiting. 
  • The latest information on COVID-19, including new case numbers, public health advice and guidance. Stay up to date on credible information by visiting

Using ALL of these layers of protection is essential to minimizing your risk for COVID-19.

As we continue to live with COVID-19, how will you layer up?" 


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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