Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on October 17, 2020


October 17, 2020Ottawa, ONPublic 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 194,106 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,722 deaths. Nationally, there are 20,740 active cases across the country. For the last 7 day period with national data, labs across Canada were testing an average of over 77,000 people daily, with 2.4% testing positive. As of Friday October 16th, 2020, an average of 2,310 cases were being reported daily across Canada over a seven-day period. As some provinces and territories do not report new cases over the weekend, the next update for the average daily case count will be provided on Tuesday, once these numbers have been compiled.

As we can see from the current disease activity, each part of the country is experiencing the pandemic differently. I recognise that this can cause uncertainty about what action is needed to keep us all safer.

This time around things are more complicated, considering that schools and businesses are open, posing very different challenges and choices for individuals and families. I know that this is not easy and requires difficult choices on all of our parts. Public health authorities also face difficult choices as they work to bring COVID-19 back to manageable levels in some areas. There are no quick fixes and COVID-19 is not going away, so public health is focussed on making the response sustainable through to the end of the pandemic, balancing the health, social and economic consequences.

What is certain, is that our response requires a collective effort. Everyone's actions matter. So no matter whether our efforts are needed to reduce high rates of infection or to keep disease activity low, the way to do this is the same. We must keep our number of in-person close contacts low and adhere to proven effective public health practices, including self-isolating at home if you are experiencing any symptoms, maintaining physical distancing, wearing a face mask as appropriate and keeping up with hand, cough and surface hygiene. This may mean things like reducing the number of in-person after school activities for children, moving our book clubs online, and exercising outdoors.

Of these practises, I know that physical distancing presents different challenges for different people. We all have unique circumstances and responsibilities. When it comes to being in close contact with others, we need to remember that every person that we encounter brings with them a whole network of contacts. Each of our efforts to maintain effective public health practises adds up and makes a big difference in reducing overall risk and infection rates. So, as much as you can, I urge you to reduce encounters with people outside of your consistent, trusted close contacts. I especially urge you to avoid these encounters in crowded and closed settings with limited ventilation. Keeping apart is difficult, but it is what will make us stronger, more resilient and better able to sustain public health efforts through the Fall and Winter.

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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