Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, February 26, 2021


To date, there have been 858,217 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 21,865 deaths. Currently there are 30,335 active cases across Canada. Over the past week, an average of 97,120 tests completed daily, of which 3.2% were positive for COVID-19 and an average of 2,960 new cases and 52 deaths were reported daily. During the same time period 2,269 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day, including 564 in critical care.

Although COVID-19 activity has been declining nationally for several weeks, we are keeping a close eye on increased case counts over the past few days. In particular, average daily case counts have increased, ranging from 8-14% higher, in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, as compared to last week. In addition, the number of cases involving the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant of concern continues to increase, with the highest numbers to date being reported from these same three provinces. To date, there have been 964 B.1.1.7, 44 B.1.351 and 2 P.1 variant cases reported across Canada.

With daily case counts still elevated - almost 75% higher than the peak of the first wave, and more contagious variants spreading - the risk of rapid reacceleration remains. At the same time, new variants continue to emerge and those with an advantage, such as the ability to spread faster, can become predominant. Given a much narrower margin of error with these variants, controlling the epidemic would much more difficult. This is why we must do our best to prevent spread now, and avoid more illness and loss that would follow. I know we are all tired, but we are getting closer everyday. Considering how far we have come, let's keep working together to achieve the successful outcome that we've already worked so hard for.

Our progress on the vaccine front continues to give us reason for optimism. To date, over 1.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across Canada - and there are early indications of high vaccine effectiveness among some of the populations at highest risk of severe outcomes or exposure, who are being targeted by priority vaccination programs.

As vaccine programs continue to rollout, Federal, provincial and territorial authorities are continuing to monitor vaccine safety. To date, as of February 19th, there have been 1,235 reports of adverse events following immunization (AEFIs). These reports include any medical event that occurs following immunization, but is not necessarily related to the vaccine or the immunization process. A total of 167 of these reports to date - about 1 in 9,000 doses administered - were considered serious, such as a severe allergic reaction. All adverse events are subject to review and all serious events undergo a detailed investigation to determine whether or not they are related to the use of the vaccine. To date, no unexpected vaccine safety issues have been identified.

As we continue to make progress, I urge Canadians to remain vigilant, continue following local public health advice, and consistently maintain individual practices that keep us and our families safer. We are stronger together, and together we ARE achieving great things.

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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