Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on July 9, 2021
July 9, 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.
As COVID-19 activity continues 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 (PHAC) is also providing 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 1,419,196 cases of COVID-19 and 26,405 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, including four VOCs (B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta)) that have been detected in most provinces and territories. While the Alpha variant still accounts for the majority new cases nationally, the Delta variant has increased and now accounts for the majority of new COVID-19 cases in some areas, such as in Ontario. As all viruses change over time, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, new and emerging variants are expected. PHAC, in collaboration provincial and territorial partners and CanCOGeN, monitor for these changes by sequencing a percentage of all COVID-19 viruses from positive cases. While this percentage has varied over time, since mid-May, over 70% of all positive cases have been sequenced. Regardless of which viruses are predominating in an area, we know that vaccination, in combination with public health and individual measures, continue to work to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
While the latest national-level data show a continued decline in disease activity with an average of 461 cases reported daily during the latest 7 day period (July 2-8), the rate of decrease may be slowing. As public health restrictions are eased, some increase in cases, particularly among unvaccinated populations, is not unexpected. The latest provincial and territorial data indicate that an average of 747 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (July 2-8), which is 18% fewer than last week. This includes, on average 366 people who were being treated in intensive care units (ICU), 19% fewer than last week and an average of 11 deaths were reported daily (July 2-8).
With the ongoing expansion of vaccine eligibility, the administration of first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines is continuing across the country and there is optimism that widespread, stronger and longer lasting immunity can be achieved by fully vaccinating a high proportion of Canadians. As of July 8, 2021, provinces and territories have administered over 41 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and a record high of close to 3.7 million doses were administered during the week of June 20 to July 3, 2021. The latest data provincial and territorial data indicate that over 78.5% of people aged 12 years or older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 46% are fully vaccinated across Canada. Second dose coverage continues to increase quickly, with the highest coverage rates among those aged 80 years or older, followed by those aged 70-79 years. Age specific data as of July 3rd, show that over 76% of adults over the age of 70 years are now fully vaccinated, providing strong protection for those at highest risk for severe outcomes. By keeping the momentum up, Canada is within reach of having at least 80% of the eligible population fully vaccinated. 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.
Canadians can access information on Canada.ca to understand the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19, find guidance on life after vaccination and utilise free interactive risk assessment tools to aid in informed decision-making. These resources aim to assist Canadians with informed decision making and understanding of COVID-wise precautions that lower COVID-19 risks according to personal and family health and vaccinations status, as well as different risk settings and activities. However, as jurisdictions begin to ease restrictions, risks and circumstances are not the same everywhere and following local public health advice continues to be important, regardless of your vaccination status.
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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