Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on June 26, 2021
June 26, 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.
The past year and a half has taught us a lot about preventing risks and protecting ourselves and others against COVID-19. As more and more Canadians are vaccinated, I know that people in Canada have questions about life after vaccination. While we need to continue following current public health measures, it's also important to look at our individual risk when going out-and there are new and updated resources and tools that can help.
More people getting vaccinated means fewer people getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19. High vaccination coverage across the population also makes it safer to ease restrictive measures. The new Life After Vaccination resources aim to help you make informed and confident decisions to enjoy a safer summer. This includes an easy to read infographic to help as you consider the risks of different activities based on personal and family health and vaccination status, the setting or activity and precautions to help to keep you safer. If you are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes, individual precautions such as masking, and physical distancing provide additional layers of protection that can further reduce your risk in all settings. Your risk is always lower when outside.
On June 22, Ryerson University's National Institute on Ageing launched the My COVID-19 Visit Risk Calculator, an individual risk assessment tool to help people in Canada make informed decisions about their personal risk for COVID-19. This user-friendly online tool provides reliable, science-based information to help you reduce your individual risk when visiting and gathering with others. When you use the tool, you'll anonymously answer questions about your age, health, and vaccination status, and the people you are visiting, along with the prevalence of COVID-19 in your community.
Once you've answered these questions, the tool estimates the risk of your visit as low, moderate, high, or very high. It will also guide you towards resources with more information to help you make an informed decision. This way the tool can help you choose wisely and act safely, and each of our individual safe choices can ultimately allow us all to enjoy more everyday social activities.
As COVID-19 activity declines in Canada, we are continuing to track key epidemiological indicators to monitor trends and quickly detect emerging issues of concern, including to better understand the impact of circulating virus variants. The Public Health Agency of Canada is also 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.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,412,226 cases of COVID-19 and 26,197 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Variants of concern (VOCs) represent the majority of recently reported COVID-19 cases across the country. While the Alpha variant continues to account for the majority of genetically sequenced variants in Canada, four VOCs (B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta)) have been detected in most provinces and territories and the Delta variant is increasing in some areas. However, we know that vaccination, in combination with public health and individual measures, are working to reduce spread of COVID-19.
The latest national-level data show a continued downward trend in disease activity with an average of 758 cases reported daily during the latest 7 day period (June 18-24), down 33% compared to the week prior. Likewise, the overall number of people experiencing severe and critical illness is also steadily declining. Provincial and territorial data indicate that an average of 1,114 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (June 18-24), which is 22% fewer than last week. This includes, on average 533 people who were being treated in intensive care units, 18% fewer than last week. Likewise, the latest 7-day average of 18 deaths reported daily (June 18-24) is continuing to decline, showing a 9% decrease compared to the week prior.
As vaccine eligibility continues to expand, the administration of first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines continues at an accelerated pace across the country, there is increasing optimism that widespread, stronger and longer lasting immunity can be achieved by fully vaccinating a high proportion of Canadians. For more information regarding the risks and benefits of vaccination, I encourage Canadians to reach out to your local public health authorities, healthcare provider, or other trusted and credible sources, such as Canada.ca and Immunize.ca.
While COVID-19 is still circulating in Canada and internationally, core public health measures and individual protective practices can help us to reduce the spread: stay home/self-isolate if you have symptoms; be aware of risks associated with different settings; avoid all non-essential travel; and maintain individual protective practices such as physical distancing and wearing a well-fitted and properly worn face mask, as appropriate.
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. 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.
Public Health Agency of Canada
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