Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on October 15, 2020


October 15, 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 189,387 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,664 deaths. Nationally, there are 20,372 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 2,323 new cases being reported daily during the most recent 7 days. Over the past week, there have been on average over 850 individuals with COVID-19 in Canadian hospitals each day and over 17 deaths reported daily.

As the number of individuals who test positive continues to increase nationally, more health regions are reporting elevated rates of infection that inevitably put a strain on local public health resources. Although there are still areas of the country where disease activity remains low, none of us, anywhere, can afford to be complacent.

Maintaining physical distancing is a key measure to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. I recognize this is not easy for everyone. Wear a non-medical mask or face covering in crowded places, closed spaces with poor ventilation and close-contact situations where you cannot maintain physical distancing of at least two metres. The virus is transmitted by people when they sneezing, coughing, talking, shouting and singing. When everyone wears a mask we all protect each other. Visit for more information on how to wear a non-medical mask or face covering correctly.  

In some settings, such as group-living accommodations and public transportation where distancing can be more difficult, there are a range considerations and community-based measures available to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Separate guidance is also available for specific settings, such as long-term care facilities and shelters for people experiencing homelessness.

Other settings where transmission is known to occur, such as businesses and workplaces have  a range of health and safety tools available online to help employers and employees reduce the risk of infection and spreading COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The Government of Canada also has specific advice for essential retailers and guidance for businesses operating during the pandemic.

To get COVID-19 infection rates down to a manageable level, reduce the number of in-person close contacts and adhere to proven effective public health practices, like washing your hands frequently and staying home if you have symptoms, even mild ones. We all have different circumstances, but when it comes to being in close contact with others, remember that every person you encounter brings their whole network and contact history with them. Every one of our actions, in every moment matters.

We've learned a lot during these many months of living with COVID-19. Our challenge now and going forward is to remain united in our efforts. Public health cannot do this alone. Everyone is needed on the frontlines, from essential workers to volunteers to businesses, workplaces, and everyday citizens. Let's all do our part.

Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 Information and Resources on ways to reduce the risks and protect yourself and others.”


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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