Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, November 3, 2020

Speech

There have been 240,263 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 10,208 deaths. Nationally, there are about 30,000 active cases across the country. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of close to 61,000 people daily, with 4.7% testing positive. Yesterday, a total of 3,422 cases were reported nationally, excluding Alberta, which has not yet reported weekend or Monday cases nationally. 741 of the new cases were backlogged cases from the weekend and 2,681 were newly identified yesterday. This brings the average daily case count to over 2,900 cases. There are also increased numbers of people experiencing severe illness. Over the past 7 days, there were on average almost 1,100 people with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including over 215 in critical care and an average of 34 deaths were reported each day.

Canadians have sacrificed much in the months since the pandemic first began. We have come together to protect one another. Masks are one of the ways we protect each other.

The degree of protection that non-medical masks provide varies with the construction, number of layers, materials used, and most importantly, the fit of the mask. To improve the level of protection that can be provided by non-medical masks or face coverings, we are recommending that you consider a 3-layer non-medical mask, which includes a middle, filter layer. To find more information on how to purchase or make and wear your non-medical mask for most effective use, read our updated guidance. It is important to remember that masks are an additional layer and that core public health practices including staying home if you have symptoms, handwashing and physical distancing remain vital protections.

We know from the evidence in Canada and internationally that larger gatherings and indoor settings pose a higher risk for infection. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks. The droplets vary in size from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances.

This is why we have been advising Canadians to try to avoid the three Cs: closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with large numbers of people gathered and close contact situations where you can't maintain physical distancing. This pandemic is teaching us a lot about being flexible and adapting to new challenges.

Read my backgrounder for more COVID-19 Information and Resources to increase your COVID know how and use your knowledge to support, guide, and influence others.

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