Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, January 26, 2021
Due to technical difficulties, Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo were not able to participate in the live press conference today at noon; below are Dr. Tam’s prepared remarks.
There have been over 753,000 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 19,238 deaths and almost 62,450 active cases across the country. With the recent decline in cases counts nationally, there are now an average of 5,370 new cases being reported daily over the past 7 days. However, as severe outcomes lag behind disease activity, the number of people experiencing severe illness remains high. Over the past week, there have been an average of almost 4,500 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including over 860 in critical care, and 160 deaths each day. Canada continues to monitor for virus variants of concern; to date, provinces have reported over 60 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, and 9 cases of the B.1.351 variant.
Thursday marks Bell Let’s Talk Day. This annual event is an important reminder of the powerful impact our actions can have on the mental health of those around us. We are taking this opportunity to focus on mental health and wellbeing throughout the week. The uncertainty around COVID-19 has created considerable fear and frustration over these many months, as the pandemic affects our daily lives. Many have faced new challenges, including balancing multiple roles, providing critical services to Canadians in need, and providing support to family and friends. These complex and ongoing demands have left many of us feeling tired and frustrated, and some of us are also experiencing negative impacts on our mental health.
In the face of all this, we may feel tremendous pressure to be superheroes. To not appear weak. And this may prevent us from accessing the care, treatment and support we need for our own mental health. But it is important to know that we are not alone and that it is normal to have moments of struggle, especially in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. As we face these challenges, it is important that we give ourselves, and each other, encouragement to reach out for help and support. Now more than ever, we need to be proactive in protecting our mental health.
Through Wellness Together Canada, Canadians of all ages, can access free supports such as self-assessment, educational content and self-guided programming, peer support and confidential sessions with social workers, psychologists and other professionals. Supports are available online, as well as by phone and text. To learn more about Wellness Together Canada or to access contact numbers for immediate support, please visit: wellnesstogether.ca.
The path ahead of us remains uncertain, but there is cause for hope! We can and will succeed if we support each other. If you are feeling strong and supported, lend a hand and help others. If you need help, know there are people who want to help – please reach out.
For all of us, this is the tough part of the COVID-19 marathon and we need to give our best effort -- every vacation travel we postpone for a better time in the future; every outing or activity we avoid, shorten, or limit to essentials and all the diligence we apply to handwashing, masking, and spacing will help to reduce spread of the virus. Let’s dig deep and get through this together.
Read my backgrounder to access COVID-19 Information and Resources, including information on vaccination and ways to reduce your risk of infection and spreading the virus and others.
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