Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer is concerned with the rising trend of COVID-19 case numbers.
Theresa Tam gave an update on national COVID-19 modelling, which shows the country is “at a crossroads” in its pandemic-response.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Tam said the rate of contact in the country needs to decrease in order to suppress the rise of new cases.
The Chief Public Health Officer cited other countries as evidence that a second surge of the virus can exceed the initial wave.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 145,000 cases of COVID-19 had been diagnosed, and at least 9,228 people have died since the pandemic was declared.
Last week, Ontario saw the reinstatement of stricter caps on indoor and outdoor gatherings, but Tam says they aren’t the only province seeing an uptick in instances of the virus.
“Although the pattern of epidemic curves varies by region, all provinces west of the Atlantic region are showing increasing incidents of COVID-19,” Tam said.
Tam says the current surge in cases hasn’t yet led to a big rise in COVID-related deaths, or hospitalizations, but those numbers often lag behind the discovery of new cases.
Since June, Canadians in their 20s have been the leading factor in rising case numbers across the country.
Tam says that while younger patients seem to be less at risk of fatal outcomes, the increase in carriers can lead to spread to other demographics.
“Ongoing circulation of the virus in younger, more mobile and socially-connected adults builds a reservoir for the virus,” Tam said. “Increasing the risk of spread to individuals and population at a higher risk of severe outcomes, and threatening our ability to maintain epidemic control.”
As society continues to await an effective COVID-19 vaccine, the goal of world governments continues to be to maintain the number of caseloads at a low enough volume so as not to overwhelm emergency room capacity.
Tam did say that the number of cases stemming from each outbreak appears to be in decline.
“A review of publicly-reported outbreaks in long-term care settings over the course of the epidemic suggests that the number of cases per outbreak has declined from over 30 cases per outbreak in April, to less than five cases per outbreak in August.”