Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on August 3, 2021
August 3, 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) provides regular updates on COVID-19 vaccines administered, vaccination coverage and ongoing monitoring of vaccine safety across the country. Below is the latest summary on national numbers and trends. Due to reduced reporting over the weekend, national seven day averages are not included in today’s statement. These data are still being collected and analysed and will be provided in tomorrow’s statement.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,430,483 cases of COVID-19 and 26,592 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Four variants of concern (VOCs) in Canada, 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. Currently, Delta accounts for the majority of recently reported VOC cases, nationally.
The latest epidemiology and modelling update shows that we are at the start of a Delta-driven fourth wave, but that the trajectory will depend on ongoing increase in fully vaccinated coverage and the timing, pace and extent of re-opening. We expect cases to be concentrated largely in younger unvaccinated people; however, further spread could extend into older unvaccinated populations. Both higher overall case volumes and older age of cases could ultimately lead to an increase in severe illness outcomes, including hospitalisations, with the potential to exceed healthcare capacity.
This reaffirms the need to take a cautious approach to relaxing public health measures, to remain vigilant and responsive to signs of resurgence, and to continue to increase first and second dose vaccination coverage. The good news is that there are still opportunities to reduce the impact of a stronger resurgence this fall and/or winter. Increasing fully vaccinated coverage above 80% across all age groups, particularly in the 18-39 year olds, where most of the transmission is occurring, could significantly reduce the size and impact of the resurgence. This is why every vaccination counts for better protection heading into the fall and winter indoors and I am urging anyone who has not yet started on their vaccinations or not yet received their second dose to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible to do so.
For more information regarding the risks and benefits of vaccination, 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 and understanding COVID-wise precautions to lower the risks in different settings. 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 non-essential travel outside Canada; 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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