Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, February 2, 2021
There have been 783,589 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 20,136 deaths and close to 52,000 active cases across the country. In cautious good news, national daily case counts have continued to decline over the past 2 to 3 weeks. Over the past 7 days, there have been an average of 4,368 new cases reported daily, which is around 4,000 fewer cases daily than we were seeing just 3 weeks ago. This is a clear sign that the difficult community-based measures that were put in place to control rapid spread are having an impact. However, there is still a lot of infection in our communities and we must hold fast with these measures to prevent reacceleration of the epidemic and limit the spread of more infectious virus variants. Canada is continuing to monitor for these virus variants and to date provinces have reported over 135 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, and at least 13 cases of the B.1.351 variant.
To improve comparability in reporting national laboratory results, we are now shifting from reporting total number of people tested to total number of tests performed. Since the start of the pandemic there have been over 21.5 million tests performed. Over the past week, there were on average over 107,000 tests completed daily across Canada, of which 4.2% were positive for COVID-19.
There is more good news that comes with declining case counts; that is, we have started to see a gradual decline in severe outcome trends. Over the past week, the average daily number of people with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals has declined by 12% to under 3,900, including 820 in critical care, and fatal cases have dropped by 20% to 128 deaths being reported each day.
This past Sunday, we exceeded 20,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in Canada. In the first 7 months of the pandemic, 10,000 lives were lost, but with more rapid epidemic growth during this second wave, a further 10,000 lives have been lost in just over 3 months. As we gather our strength to keep going, I want to acknowledge those we have lost, who were loved members of families and valued among friends and communities across Canada.
I know that as Canadians we are all committed to seeing things through, to honour those we’ve lost, show gratitude to those who’ve cared for us and maintained our essential services, as well as to protect our hard won progress. And make no mistake, we are making progress, not just in slowing the spread of the virus but in rolling out vaccines to protect those at highest risk of severe outcomes or exposure. To date, almost 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered; with close to 50% of healthcare workers, over 10% of the populations in the territories and close to 10% of elderly adults over 80 years of age have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Right now, our good news is still peppered with caution and uncertainty, but if we holdfast to the measures we know are working, we can prevent infections and save lives while vaccine programs escalate. Lets keep working together and giving our best effort - every vacation travel we postpone; 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.
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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