Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, October 23, 2020


There have been 209,148 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,862 deaths. Nationally, there are close to 23,500 active cases across the country. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of almost 75,000 people daily, with 3.1% testing positive. The average case count is now at 2,488 cases being reported daily over the past 7 days. The number of people experiencing severe illness continue to increase. Over the past 7 days, there were on average just over 1,000 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including over 200 in critical care and an average of 23 deaths were reported each day.

Last week, Dr. Njoo and I had the honour of speaking at the opening of the Canadian Public Health Association's annual conference, which was held virtually this year. It was an opportunity to reflect on what we have been through over the last ten months.  But most of all, it was an opportunity to thank Canada’s public health workforce for their extraordinary work and their commitment, resolve, resiliency, and ingenuity.  It is truly inspiring and I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge their efforts today, to all Canadians.

Canada’s public health community has mobilized and collaborated like never before to stand up and sustain this response. We've all had to adapt and adjust as new information emerged, while at the same time navigating through the sea of uncertainties. And yet, the public health workforce has endured, and remains steadfast in the commitment to protect and improve the health and resilience of the populations we all feel privileged to serve.

But despite public health’s efforts – no one sector can solve a pandemic alone. Pandemics are whole of society events. That means the impacts extend across society, not only by affecting those who become ill, but also by impacting the health, social and economic systems that affect our overall wellbeing. It also means that minimising the pandemic’s impact, both today and in the future, depends on all of our actions, now.  The longer a pandemic goes on and the less we all do to minimize the related disruptions the more its impacts will be felt.

The public in public health means, as practitioners, we serve the population but also that the collective actions of the public are a vital part of the power and success of our solutions!

We can all do our part by keeping our number of in-person close contacts low and committing to proven effective public health practises; stay home/self-isolate if you have any symptoms, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask as appropriate, and keep up with hand, cough and surface hygiene. Go the extra mile by downloading the COVID Alert app to break the cycle of infection to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Read my backgrounder for more COVID-19 Information and Resources to increase your COVID know how and use your knowledge to support, guide, and influence others. 

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