Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on August 16, 2020


August 16, 2020 – Ottawa, ON – Public Health Agency of Canada

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

“There have been 121,889 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,024 deaths. 89% of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada have tested 4,741,146 people for COVID-19 to date. Over the past week, an average of 43,000 people were tested daily, with 0.9% testing positive. Over the last several weeks, national daily case counts have ranged between 350 to 500 cases, with over 380 cases being reported daily during the most recent 7 days.

As public health authorities and all Canadians continue with efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, we are closely monitoring disease activity indicators such as daily case counts, number of cases hospitalised and percentage of people testing positive. Presently, our efforts indicate that we are keeping COVID-19 spread under manageable control but the virus is still circulating in Canada and we must not let down our guard.

COVID-19 can be a severe illness. Hospitalisation status is available for over 81,000 (67%) of the cases reported to date in Canada indicating that just over 11,000 (14%) people developed severe illness requiring hospitalization and close to 2,300 (20%) of hospitalized patients were admitted to critical care. More detailed information is available through national hospital-based surveillance systems, indicating that persons with more severe illness were admitted to hospital on average 5 days after symptom onset. Duration of hospital stay increases with age, with individuals aged 60 years and older staying in hospital for an average of 16 days. Older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes due to COVID-19. More than half of hospitalised cases are over the age of 70 years and 85% of hospitalised cases had one or more underlying medical conditions. For more on the current situation, see the latest outbreak update.

If you think you may be at risk for complications, there are actions you can take to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. Even though infection rates in Canada are currently low, it is important to remain vigilant and be prepared because COVID-19 has not gone away. You can find more information on underlying health conditions that put people at high risk for COVID-19 and resources here to help guide you in being prepared and reducing your risk.

There are also public health actions and everyday individual level precautions that everyone can take to reduce the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to others who may be at high risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. Understanding the risks, following local public health guidance and taking appropriate precautions will help us make informed decisions to keep us, our families, and our communities safer. You can find additional information and guidance here.”


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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