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Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on January 16, 2021

OTTAWA, ON, Jan. 16, 2021 /CNW/ - As the resurgence of 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. The following is the latest summary on national numbers and trends, and the actions we all need to be taking to maintain COVID-19 at manageable levels across the country. Since the start of the pandemic, there have beenA 695,707 cases of COVID-19, including 17,729 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Though many areas continue to experience high infection rates, it is important to remember that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.A  In addition to laboratories across Canada conducting testing to confirm COVID-19 infections, the Public Health Agency of Canada's (PHAC) National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and the Canadian COVID Genomics Network conduct routine genomic sequencing on approximately five per cent of virus samples. Given the recent emergence of COVID-19 virus variants of concern, which appear to be associated with an increased risk of spread, PHAC has been working with provinces, territories and international partners to enhance monitoring for the presence of any virus variants in Canada. As of January 15, provinces and territories have reported 23A cases of the B.1.1.17 (United Kingdom) virus variant and 2 cases of the 501Y.V2 (South Africa) virus variant. Given these virus variants have been reported in multiple countries, the Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians againstA non-essential travel outside of Canada. With the current momentum of the epidemic and continued high rates of infection in many areas of the country, rapid accumulation of cases will continue until we can make significant progress in interrupting spread. At this time, there are 76,068 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 7,616 new cases (Jan 8-14). COVID-19 is spreading among people of all ages, with high infection rates across all age groups. However, nationally, infection rates remain highest among those aged 80 years and older who are at highest risk for severe outcomes.Likewise, outbreaks continue to occur in high-risk populations and communities, including hospitals and long term care homes, correctional facilities, congregate living settings, Indigenous communities, and more remote areas of the country. The downstream impacts of weeks and months of elevated disease activity continues to be seen in still rising numbers of severe illness and death, significant disruptions to health services and ongoing challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies.
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