Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, December 1, 2020


There have been 378,139 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 12,130 deaths. Nationally, there are over 66,000 active cases across the country. Over the past week, laboratories across Canada have tested an average of over 74,500 people daily, with 7.4% testing positive.

Yesterday, just over 6,100 cases were reported nationally. In addition, there were over 1,750 new cases reported for Saturday and Sunday. This brings the average daily case count to close to 5,800 cases for the past week. The number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase. Over the past 7 days, there were on average over 2,250 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including over 450 in critical care and an average of 87 deaths were reported each day.

Today marks World AIDS Day, a day where the global community comes together to remember those we have lost, to honour what has been achieved, and to recommit ourselves to the work that remains to be done. This year, I am reminded that like COVID-19, the health, social and economic impacts of HIV have been felt to a greater extent by some.

We know that COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to slow the spread have had an impact on the availability of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection (STBBI) prevention, testing and treatment services, including harm reduction services. Despite these many challenges, there are still places we can turn to for hope.

While there is no vaccine against HIV, there are highly effective treatments. Individuals living with HIV who are on treatment and maintain a suppressed viral load cannot transmit the virus to their sexual partners, which is otherwise known as undetectable = untransmittable, U=U. I am also encouraged by innovations, such as the recently authorized HIV self-test that is an important additional tool for improving access to testing in a safe and confidential manner.

None of this would be possible were it not for the efforts of community leaders, researchers, health providers and peers to see to it that those most in need are not left behind during these challenging times.

At this time, let us take inspiration from them and do our utmost to protect our families, friends and communities by doing our best to maintain individual protective practices, while supporting others who may be struggling.

It is safest for all of us to limit errands and outings to just the essentials, limit in-person activities to just our existing household members and keep up with key prevention practices: stay home if you have symptoms, practise physical distancing and frequent handwashing, wear a face mask in indoor public places, and avoid the 3Cs, crowded places, closed spaces and close contact situations, whenever you can.

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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