Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on Friday, March 12, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create stress and anxiety for many Canadians, particularly those who do not have ready access to their regular support networks. Through the Wellness Together Canada online portal, people of all ages across the country can access immediate, free and confidential mental health and substance use supports, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Today, we’ll start with the numbers update, closing out a week of remembrance with renewed commitment to the efforts that will shape our future. To date, there have been 899,757 cases of COVID-19, including 22,371 deaths and over 30,670 currently active cases reported across Canada. Over the past week, an average of over 3,050 new cases and 31 deaths were reported daily. At the same time, over 2,050 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day, including about 540 in critical care. To date, close to 3,000 variant of concern cases have been reported across Canada, with the B.1.1.7 variant accounting for over 90 percent of these to date. This includes 2,728 B.1.1.7 variants, 215 B.1.351 variants and 43 P.1 variants reported to date in Canada.

During the past year, and in the lead up to yesterday’s national day of observance, I received many notes from Canadians sharing their reflections on the year that was, including the heartbreaks and the lessons that were revealed along the way. To all those who have lost loved ones during a year when we could not ease their passing or memorialise their lives as we would have, I extend my deepest sympathies. Though difficult times have passed without them, the day will come when we can gather again with friends and family, to honour their memory and celebrate their lives.

As vaccine programs continue to escalate, more than 2.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across Canada. Over the past week, provinces and territories have administered close to 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which is the highest number of vaccines administered in a single week since vaccination began in mid-December.

We are making progress everyday and as the snow melts and the first day spring is just over a week away, I know we are all anxious for the finish line on this long marathon. But right now, racing towards the finish could cost us the success we’ve worked so long and hard for. Right now, we need to run the mile we are in, and keep to a steady, cautious pace. Lets all continue to support team vaccine, by not providing any opportunities for team variant to gain more ground.

Before I close, I would like to say a special word of thanks to the incredible public health workforce in this country and around the world. Dedicated people, too numerous to count, have and will continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes, not just since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic but in the lead up, during and long after. From those who test and trace at the local level to those who bring us the latest numbers and pore over emerging evidence that shapes and adapts our guidance across every area of the response, Thank you. This is truly the largest, most complex response in the history of public health and the public health workforce in Canada has been dedicated to giving their best efforts everyday. On behalf of all these quiet heroes, I dedicate my closing public health message – please remain vigilant, follow public health advice, and keep up with individual practices that protect us and our families. It’s up to YOU plus public health!

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.


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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