Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, September 8, 2020


Good afternoon. Bonjour. I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe long weekend. 

Schools across the country are starting the process of welcoming students back today.  I’d like to say a few words about how we can all support each other during this time, but first, I’ll begin with the usual numbers update.

There have been 132,142 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,146 deaths. 88% of people have now recovered.  Over the past week, close to 46,000 people were tested daily, with 0.9% of people testing positive.  An average of 545 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days.

Many school districts across the country are starting to welcome students back, whether in-person or virtually.  The transition back to school for children and families can be stressful under normal circumstances and we know this year will present very real and new challenges. 

Schools, classrooms and shared spaces will look fundamentally different and teaching methods will vary.  Many children will welcome the return to school, routines and classmates, but others will find the numerous changes more difficult.  We can help children transition by listening to their concerns and by being honest about our own.

I would like to thank provincial authorities, local school boards, and educators who have been working overtime to reconfigure schools in order to lower the risk of transmitting the virus in these settings. 

Although Canada is striving to maintain a “slow burn”, the average daily case count has been increasing in recent days. This is concerning. And I want to underscore that when cases occur, including in schools, it is a reflection of what is happening in the community. So the key to keeping COVID-19 at a manageable level is for each and every one of us to keep up effective public health practices at home, at work and in the public spaces we frequent.

Finally, I would like to take a moment to say a few words to parents, caregivers and guardians. You are doing your very best you can right now and there is no “one-size fits all” approach to a child’s learning. Decisions are not made lightly. So, to all of us….kind words, encouragement, and letting a parent in your life know that you are there for them can be a lifeline.

There are also mental health resources for parents and children on and there are other mental health resources including the Kids Help Phone, Families Canada, and Crisis Services Canada that provide invaluable support.

Now is not the time for complacency. To reduce community transmission, keeping up with public health measures, such as frequent hand washing, physical distancing and wearing a mask or face covering is key. 

Thank you.

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