Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, January 29, 2021


There have been over 766,103 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 19,664 deaths and just over 57,000 active cases across the country. With the recent decline in cases counts nationally, there are now an average of almost 4,900 new cases being reported daily over the last 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 4,200 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, including 855 in critical care, and 149 deaths each day. Canada continues to monitor for virus variants of concern; to date provinces have reported over 85 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, and 9 cases of the B.1.351 variant. 

Yesterday was Bell Let’s Talk Day. Many Canadians took the opportunity to reach out and start a conversation about mental health. This year, as we continue to deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to take care of our mental health and to be there for others in our lives.

Staying connected with friends, family, and community is important for our mental health. Social support – even when virtual – can help us cope with stressors, especially during uncertain times. Just because we can’t be together physically doesn’t mean we have to go through this alone. There are other ways to safely connect with those we love. Whether you reach out with regular phone calls, text messaging, or video chats or join in on virtual game nights, video dinner parties or other virtual entertainment, you can maintain social connections at same time as lifting your spirits.

If at any time you feel overwhelmed by loneliness, 1 to 1 support can help you to cope and feel connected. This type of counseling is available 24/7, free of charge for young people and adults through Wellness Together Canada. The online Wellness Together Canada portal also has more tips for staying connected as well as self-guided programs and resources where you can learn about managing loneliness and improving your mental wellbeing at your own pace. 

It is said that less than 1% of the population has ever run a marathon, but now we are all part of the COVID-19 marathon – one of the biggest collective efforts in Canada and worldwide. Let’s keep working together and giving 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 to others.

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