Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, October 2, 2020


Good afternoon. Good day. Bonjour à toutes et à tous.

There have been 160,535 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,319 deaths. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of over 71,000 people daily, with 1.8% testing positive. Case counts continue to rise, with an average of 1,634 new cases being reported daily during the most recent 7 days. Accelerated epidemic growth, particularly in high incidence areas of Quebec and Ontario, is driving the ongoing increase. New cases reported from these provinces account for almost 80% of the national case count. More recently, we are seeing an increase in severe outcomes of COVID-19, which we are keeping a really close eye on. Over the past week, there have been an average of over 500 COVID-19 cases in hospital on any given day and 10 deaths reported daily.

As more and more local areas are experiencing high infection rates, local public health, health care and laboratory services are at risk of being overwhelmed. Hospitals that are trying to catch up with a backlog of important elective procedures may be faced with the difficult decision of postponing these further.

So here comes the part where we talk about what we need to do more of and better. The thing is that the momentum of the COVID-19 epidemic curve is the opposite of a roller coaster ride; the way up is fast and easy but the way down is long and slow...and downward momentum can be stopped or even reversed with any wrong step we take.

At this point, the tireless efforts of our frontline and essential service workers is COVID fatigue of the highest order, and yet they go on because providing care and services to Canadians is what they do. They have our backs. Now it's time for us to match or better still, double down on our tireless efforts to bend and plank this latest curve.

Although, our goal has remained steady, to minimize severe illness and deaths, this kick at the curve is a bit different. Now that we have opened schools and businesses and want to keep these important spaces open, we all need to do our best to keep the infection rate to manageable levels.

This time, we've got to bend it like Canadians. We'll need to give it the old double-double by layering of personal risk assessment and prevention practices and reconfiguring and downsizing our in-person contact bubbles, within the realities of our personal and family circumstances.

It's time to step up to the plate and get in the game. Speaking of getting in the game, I'm excited to say the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, are joining forces to reach millions of young Canadian gamers with messaging about public health measures they can take to minimize the spread of COVID-19. So let's get this done!

Thank you - merci

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