Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, December 8, 2020


There have been 423,054 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 12,777 deaths. Nationally, there are over 71,540 active cases across the country. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of over 80,000 people daily, with 8.0% testing positive.

Yesterday, 6,499 cases were reported nationally. In addition, there were over 1,370 new cases reported for Saturday and Sunday. This brings the average daily case count to over 6,415 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 2,680 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including about 530 in critical care and an average of over 92 deaths were reported each day.

Yesterday, the Government of Canada announced some good news about vaccines amid our ongoing concerns about rapid growth and increasing severe outcomes of COVID-19 in Canada. Pending regulatory approval assuring quality, safety and effectiveness, Pfizer is set to provide us with up to 249,000 early doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in December. But it is important to stress that, as welcome as this news is, it does not mean that control of COVID-19 will be quick. Initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccines will be limited, but supply will gradually increase until there is enough to provide access for all Canadians. During these initial stages of vaccine rollout, it is crucial that we all continue with public health measures to protect ourselves and others.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest collective effort of our lifetimes. It has relied on the efforts of all Canadians, from individuals, institutions, all levels of Government and across sectors. As we embark on Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine response, I am confident that, together, we will be successful in rolling out one of the most complex operations ever to take place in public health. Canada has an existing strong foundation for pandemic response, including vaccine regulation, distribution and delivery. In addition, our partnership with Major-General Fortin and the Canadian Armed Forces has added significant expertise and experience to manage the complex operational and logistical arrangements.

Knowing safe and effective vaccines are within sight might lead some to think COVID-19 is no longer a problem. But, the reality is very different. Canada and many countries around the world are still experiencing high infection rates, which has placed intense strain on hospitals and health systems, as well as the health workers that have been responding to this crisis for many months.

So we need to keep telling ourselves, this is not a race to the finish, but a test of our continued collective effort and resolve, and we will endure. For now, we must all continue to follow local public health advice and maintain individual protective practices that will keep us safe along the path ahead.  

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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