Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on September 17, 2020


September 17, 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 139,747 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,193 deaths. 88% of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada tested an average of 47,111 people daily over the past week with 1.4% testing positive. An average of 779 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days.

The ongoing increase in new cases being reported daily continues to give cause for concern. With continued circulation of the virus, the situation could change quickly and we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels.

In the spring, Canadians acted decisively and together to help the country slow the spread of the virus. By following public health advice, cases of COVID-19 steadily declined through the late spring and early summer. This undoubtedly saved lives, protected the healthcare system from being overwhelmed, and helped many businesses, facilities and public spaces reopen in COVID-friendly ways over the summer.

However, the ongoing increase in daily case counts over many weeks, including outbreaks linked to private gatherings and events where public health guidelines, such as physical distancing and wearing of masks, were not followed continue to increase the risk for COVID-19 spread getting out of hand.

Remember, local public health authorities can’t do this alone; the actions of individual Canadians are key to keeping COVID-19 cases at manageable levels. I am asking Canadians to redouble their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Follow the latest public health advice, including recommendations of public health authorities in your jurisdiction and local area. This includes:

  • avoiding crowded places;
  • ensuring your social contacts bubble is limited to the number of people recommended by your jurisdiction;
  • washing your hands frequently, or using a Health Canada-approved hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available;
  • keeping two-metres of physical distance apart from people outside your close contact bubble, and
  • layering on additional precautions such as wearing a non-medical mask any time you are in closed spaces, crowded places or close contact situations and when physical distancing is difficult.

You can find additional information on how to reduce your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 here. The path before us now is in the hands of every Canadian. The steps we each take, every day, will impact the trajectory of COVID-19 into the fall and winter and decide whether and where targeted restrictions will need to be implemented to try to manage where the virus is surging.”


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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