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Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on January 23, 2021

OTTAWA, ON, Jan. 23, 2021 /CNW/ - As the resurgence of COVID-19 activity continues in Canada, we are tracking a range of epidemiological indicatorsAto 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 been 737,407AcasesAof COVID-19, including 18,828AdeathsAreported 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 precautionsAto protect ourselves, our families and our communities.A At this time, there are 65,750Aactive cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate a recent downward trend in daily case counts (past 10 days), with a 7-day average of 6,079Anew cases daily (Jan 15-21). While this suggests that community-based measures may be starting to take effect, it is too soon to be sure that current measures are strong enough and broad enough to maintain a steady downward trend. With still elevated daily case counts and high rates of infection across all age groups, the risk remains that this trend could reverse. 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. These factors underscore the importance of sustaining public health measures and individual practices and not easing restrictions too fast or too soon. This is particularly important in light of the emergence of new virus variants of concern that could rapidly accelerate transmission of COVID-19 in Canada.A As severe outcomes lag behind increased disease activity, we can expect to see ongoing heavy impacts on our healthcare system and health workforce for weeks to come. Provincial and territorial data indicate that an average of 4,651Apeople with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Jan 15-21), including 870Aof whom were being treated in intensive care units. During the same periodA(Jan 15-21), there were an average of 149ACOVID-19-related deaths reported daily.AThis situation continues to burden local healthcare resources, particularly in areas where infection rates are highest. These impacts affect everyone, as the healthcare workforce and health system bear a heavy strain, important elective medical procedures are delayed or postponed, adding to pre-existing backlogs. AStringent and consistent efforts are needed to sustain a downward trend in case counts and strongly suppress COVID-19 activity across Canada. This will not only prevent more tragic outcomes, but will help to ensure that new virus variants of concern do not have the opportunity to spread. Unless we continue the hard work to suppress COVID-19 activity across Canada, there is a risk that more transmissible virus variants could take hold or even replace less transmissible variants, which could result in a significant and difficult to control acceleration of spread. Staying the course will also buy critical time for vaccines to begin working, as we continue to prepare the way for widespread and lasting control of COVID-19 through safe and effective vaccines.
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