Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, November 13, 2020


There have been 282,577 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 10,768 deaths. Nationally, there are over 45,000 active cases across the country. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of close to 55,000 people daily, with almost 6% testing positive. The national average case count is now over 4,300 cases reported daily over the last 7 days.

The number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase, with an average over 1,400 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including 280 in critical care and an average of 55 deaths reported each day over the past 7 days. Western provinces saw weekly increases in daily hospitalisations ranging from 24% to as high as over 50%, compared to last week. Quebec and Ontario saw a lower percent increase but continue to have the highest numbers of people being treated in hospital for COVID-19 in the country. This situation is very worrisome as it is putting pressure on local healthcare resources. Hospitals are being forced to make the difficult decision to cancel elective surgeries and procedures in areas of the country and healthcare workers are exhausted everywhere. The continued spread of COVID-19 impacts all of our wellbeing and we all must take action to help reduce the spread of the virus. If we continue on the current pace, it is estimated that there will be over 10,000 cases daily by early December.

An important driver of this increased disease activity continues to be informal social gatherings and activities both inside and outside our homes. In these more relaxed settings, such as family get-togethers, birthday parties, holiday celebrations and recreational activities, it is natural to relax, but this can mean it is easy forget or let our guard down on the necessary precautions. Unfortunately, the virus will take any and every opportunity to spread. So our best protection - for ourselves, our family and our community- is to consistently maintain public health practices and avoid settings and situations that increase the risks for spread. For these reasons, public health authorities are urging people to reduce the size of gatherings and limit activities to just our existing household members wherever possible. If you spend time indoors with people from outside of our immediate household, it is strongly recommended that everybody wears a non-medical mask.

Our primary goal for the pandemic response remains to minimise severe illness and deaths due to COVID-19. As always, layering of prevention practices is the most effective protection: stay home and self-isolate if you have any symptoms, even mild ones; clean your hands frequently; maintain physical distancingwear a non-medical mask or face covering when indoors with people from outside of your immediate household; and avoid or limit time spent in the 3Cs - closed spacescrowded places and close-contact - settings and situations where you cannot consistently maintain physical distancing as the Prime Minister has said, all of use need to do our part to flatten the curve.

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

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