Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on August 19, 2020


August 19, 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 123,154 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,045 deaths. 89% of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada have tested 4,880,172 people for COVID-19 to date. Over the past week, an average of over 48,700 people were tested daily, with 0.8% testing positive. Over the last several weeks, national daily case counts have ranged from 350 to 500 cases, with just over 390 cases being reported daily during the most recent 7 days.

As public health authorities and Canadians continue with our collective effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, we are closely monitoring disease activity indicators such as daily case counts, number of cases hospitalised and the percentage of people testing positive in order to inform, adjust and adapt our actions as needed.

Currently, our efforts indicate that we are keeping COVID-19 spread under manageable control. Average daily case counts continue fall in the range of 350 to 500 new cases daily across the country. With reduced reporting over the weekend, Monday saw the usual jump in COVID-19 case reporting, with 785 new cases reported. However, the 7-day rolling average smooths out the weekend lows and Monday high to an average of 391 cases reported daily over the past 7 days, which is within the current range.

We will continue to see new cases as COVID-19 circulates in Canada and worldwide, but we’ve also improved our ability to manage spread going forward. We’ve built up capacity across health, public health, and laboratory systems and economic and social spaces have been modified to reduce exposure risks as they have reopened. Most importantly, we have all learned the importance of key public health measures like physical distancing, hand hygiene and extra layering with non-medical masks and other precautions to reduce our risk of infection and spreading the virus.

As we continue with reopening, including very importantly our schools, this won’t be 2019’s back to work and school, but back to modified spaces, adapted routines, and mitigation protocols that are an integral part of our cautious approach to reopening to keep the COVID-19 infection rate down. There will be uncertainties ahead but we have shown strength and adaptability throughout and Canada’s children will continue to show their resilience as they get back to in-school learning and socializing that is key to helping them achieve their best long-term outcomes.

Today, I also want to acknowledge another group of resilience builders. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, humanitarians have been working to protect those at high risk of COVID-19 and build resilience in communities across Canada and around the world. Today on World Humanitarian Day, I want to salute these real-life heroes who live and work among us.

Lets all thank them, along with all our essential workers, today and everyday. We can all make their job that much easier by brushing up on our COVID-19 Know How and doing our part to keep the infection rate low. 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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