Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, October 16, 2020


There have been 191,732 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,699 deaths. Nationally, there are close to over 20,500 active cases across the country. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of over 77,000 people daily, with 2.4% testing positive. National daily case counts continue to rise with an average of just over 2,300 new cases being reported daily during the most recent 7 days. Over the past week, there have been on average 870 individuals with COVID-19 in Canadian hospitals each day and 20 deaths reported daily.

The resurgence of COVID-19 cases affecting many parts of the country is concerning and something we must keep top of mind to plan safer activities for ourselves and our families during the Fall and Winter.

I encourage everyone to heed the advice of local public health authorities, as their recommendations are based on the local situation. In order to keep COVID-19 activity at a manageable level, particularly in areas experiencing high infection rates, restrictions or limitations may be imposed on higher risk settings or activities.  But regardless of the local situation, if you have symptoms, even mild ones, stay home and self-isolate.

As Fall is upon us, I also want to remind everyone that this the start of flu season. The flu shot provides protection against infection with influenza A and B viruses that are expected to circulate in the Canadian population this fall and winter while COVID-19 activity continues. Although the flu shot doesn't provide protection against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, it will help reduce the risk of you getting the flu before, during or after a possible COVID-19 infection. Having both illnesses close together in time, or at the same time, could put you at higher risk for severe illness.

Getting the flu shot protects you and those around you, providing you protection from infection and serious illness, and reducing the likelihood of you spreading the illness to others. By keeping you and others healthier, the flu shot is also an important prevention measure to help reduce the burden on Canada's health care system during this unprecedented time.

Our best bet to keep everyone safer is to layer on all the protections we have available. By following public health practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and making sure all our important vaccinations are up to date we are doing our best to protect ourselves and others. And as an additional measure we can take to break the cycle of infection and help limit the spread of COVID-19, I encourage Canadians to download the COVID Alert app if it is available in your area.

For more information on the risks of COVID-19 and ways to protect yourself and others, see my COVID-19 backgrounder.

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