Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on April 28, 2021


April 28, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

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.

This National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW), I have been reflecting on importance of vaccines in protecting our health and wellbeing. During COVID-19, this year's theme is particularly poignant; "Vaccines bring us closer," highlights how vaccinations can connect us to the people and things we miss most and to a healthier future. Several safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are currently being rolled out across Canada and, along with maintaining other necessary public health measures and individual protective practices, vaccines are a vital tool to help lead us out of this pandemic, bringing us closer together once again. But, this week is also a reminder of the importance of keeping up to date with routine vaccinations throughout our lives, including childhood vaccinations as well as adult vaccinations, that protect us from serious vaccine preventable diseases across our lifespan.

There is a lot to take in and it's normal for people to have questions. I encourage medical and public health professionals across Canada to engage in meaningful dialogue with patients early and often, to listen to concerns, answer questions and guide people as they make informed decisions regarding vaccination for themselves and their families. Likewise, I encourage all Canadians to ask questions and seek information from their healthcare providers and other trusted and credible sources, such as and, which provides a list of additional credible online resources about immunization.

As COVID-19 activity continues in Canada, we are tracking a range of epidemiological indicators to monitor where the disease is most active, where it is spreading and how it is impacting the health of Canadians and public health, laboratory and healthcare capacity. At the same time, the Public Health Agency of Canada is providing Canadians with regular updates on COVID-19 vaccines administered, vaccination coverage and ongoing monitoring of vaccine safety across the country. The following is the latest summary on national numbers and trends, and the actions we all need to be taking to reduce infection rates, while vaccination programs expand for the protection of al Canadians.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,194,989 cases of COVID-19, including 84,313 active cases and 24,065 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. They also tell us, together with results of serological studies, that a very large majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. As vaccine delivery ramps up at an accelerated pace, there is cause for optimism that widespread and lasting immunity can be achieved through COVID-19 vaccination. We now have multiple safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines with unique advantages that are authorised for use in Canada. Vaccine coverage is increasing across Canada, with benefits being seen in prioritized high-risk populations. Ramp up of vaccine supply and acceleration of vaccination programs will return further benefits to protect more Canadians, over the coming weeks and months.

Although COVID-19 activity remains elevated, with a high proportion of cases involving more contagious variants of concern, we are cautiously optimistic that our efforts and strengthened restrictions are beginning to have an impact, as presented in the latest epidemiology and modelling update. However, strong public health measures must be sustained where COVID-19 is circulating and individual precautions are important everywhere. The latest national-level data show a 7-day average of 7,992 new cases daily (Apr 21-27), a 7.5% decrease compared to the previous seven days.

Elevated infection rates continue to impact COVID-19 severity indicators, particularly in areas with sustained high levels of disease activity. The rise in severe and critical illnesses continues to place a prolonged and heavy strain on the health system and healthcare workforce. Provincial and territorial data indicate that an average of 4,382 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Apr 21-27) representing a 13% increase over last week. This includes, on average 1,365 people who were being treated in intensive care units (ICU), which is 17% higher than the previous week. The mortality trend is also still on the rise, with the 7-day average of 50 deaths reported daily 10% higher than the week prior.

While COVID-19 continues to impact people of all ages in Canada, infection rates are highest among those under 60 years of age. Serious illness can occur at any age and evidence indicates that variants of concern can be associated with more severe illness and increased risk of death. In addition, circulation of COVID-19 in younger, more mobile and socially-connected adults is an ongoing risk for spread into high-risk populations and settings. As of April 27, a total of 98,393 variant of concern cases have been reported across Canada, including 94,575 involving B.1.1.7 variants, 3,240 P.1 variants and 578 B.1.351 variants. These represent the tip of the iceberg, as there are many more COVID-19 cases that have screened positive for mutations indicative of variants of concern.

Canadians are urged to remain vigilant, continue following local public health advice, and consistently maintain individual practices that keep us and our families safer: stay home/self-isolate if you have any symptoms, think about the risks and reduce non-essential activities and outings to a minimum, avoid all non-essential travel, and maintain individual protective practices of physical distancing, hand, cough and surface hygiene and wearing a well-fitted and properly worn face mask as appropriate (including in shared spaces, indoors or outdoors, with people from outside of your immediate household).

Canadians can also go the extra mile by sharing credible information on COVID-19 risks and prevention practices and measures to reduce COVID-19 in communities and by downloading the COVID Alert app to break the cycle of infection and help limit the spread of COVID-19. Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 Information and Resources on ways to reduce the risks and protect yourself and others, including information on COVID-19 vaccination.


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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