Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on September 3, 2020


September 3, 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 129,923 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,135 deaths. 88.5% of people have now recovered. Labs across Canada tested an average of 46,000 people daily over the past week with 0.9% testing positive. An average of 501 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days.

Our homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and communities have a significant impact on our health. The environments where we live, work, study and play can impact our mental health; our access to exercise, nutrition, and healthcare; and sometimes our exposure to infectious diseases and hazardous materials.

In order to get and stay healthy, we must ensure that the physical and social environments in which we live are healthy places. To help support these efforts, the Government of Canada recently announced the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative to help governments and community partners advance the goal of healthier living environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative will provide funding to small-scale, local projects that help adapt public spaces and places to the healthy living needs of their communities during these unprecedented times.

As I noted in my first annual report as Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, changes to our built environment can help us prevent chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease and also improve our mental wellbeing. This isn't a new concept in public health. Over the last century, improving sanitation, infrastructure planning, and addressing residential overcrowding reduced infectious disease rates in Canada.

Even now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see examples of municipal leadership adapting city infrastructure in ways that encourage outdoor social and physical activities. Many communities closed selected streets to traffic, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to exercise outdoors safely. Restaurants, bars, and cafes with outdoor seating were permitted patio expansions to ensure patrons were able to safely dine at least two meters apart. These changes to our built environment help us to be socially together and remain physically apart.

While specific projects will vary based on community needs and proposals, they will share a common objective: to ensure physical and social environments enable us to easily, and accessibly, follow public health measures during the pandemic, while providing opportunities to be more physically active and attain improved mental health, both now and into the future.

Remember that whenever we are in public spaces, we should always interact with one another in ways that are consistent with public health guidance. To keep COVID-19 down, we must keep up our public health practices."


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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