Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, November 17, 2020


There have been 302,192 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 11,027 deaths. Nationally, there are close to 51,000 active cases across the country. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of over 58,400 people daily, with 6.6% testing positive.

Yesterday 4,802 cases were reported nationally. In addition, there were over 1,300 new cases reported for Saturday and Sunday. This brings the average daily case count to almost 4,800 cases for the past week. The number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase. Over the past 7 days, there were on average 1,675 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including over 330 in critical care and an average of 66 deaths were reported each day.

Over the weekend and yesterday, there were a number of very troubling developments in the trajectory of COVID-19 resurgence in Canada. In addition to ever-increasing case counts and rising numbers of hospitalisations, critical care admissions and deaths, we are seeing disease transmission spill over into the most vulnerable populations. Cases have been increasing in elderly adults for several weeks, with those over 80 years of age now having the highest incidence rate nationally. More and more outbreaks are occurring in long term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals, and spreading in Indigenous communities. Most recently Nunavut had to implement a 2-week* territory-wide restriction period to interrupt the spread of COVID-19. I am deeply concerned at these developments because they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies.

We have to remind every Canadian of the importance of individual actions to protect our most vulnerable. Right now, every effort you make matters. As much you can, limit errands and outings to just the essentials, keep in-person social activities to just your existing household, and strictly and consistently follow public health measures. This is what is needed of us now, to slow the spread and keep COVID-19 out of high-risk settings, keep schools and work places open in a safer way, and prevent further restrictions.

The measure of a society is in how it protects its most vulnerable. Canadians are once again at a critical juncture. Let's do everything we can to protect and support others, by staying physically apart but using everything we've learned to support each other through these times. Keep connecting virtually, do check-ins over the phone, say hello from across the street, or drop off a care package - whatever it takes, let's protect and support each other. I said it in the Spring and I'll say it again now: Canada, it's time to plank 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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