Canada’s chief public health officer is calling for a “collective effort” to stem the spike of COVID-19 and to lessen the burden on essential workers.
“To essential workers — from those growing our food and keeping grocery stores stocked with vital supplies to the health-care and public health workforce providing care and services to Canadians — thank you for your commitment to keeping our society running,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement on Saturday.
“Many of you have been on the front lines since the beginning, putting yourselves in harm’s way,” she said. “As individuals, we have an important role to play to minimize the COVID-19 burden on essential workers.”
Tam again urged Canadians to adhere to public health guidelines, such as physical distancing, hand washing, wearing a face covering and using the COVID Alert app.
1/2 To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 9,436,375 people for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>, w\ an average ~2.4% positive overall, for a rate of 251,039 people tested per million population in Canada. <a href=”https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo”>https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo</a>
Tam’s comments come a day after the latest federal modelling on COVID-19 suggests the surge in cases could continue in the coming weeks unless Canadians take action now.
On Friday, she said that based on the current projections, Canadians need to cut their contacts by 25 per cent in order to get the second wave under control to the point where daily counts may drop below 2,000.
Without reducing the rates of contact, Canada could see COVID-19 case counts rise to 8,000 per day come early December, she said.
Tam said the country has lost its lead in the ongoing “dance” with COVID-19 after curbing cases over the summer, and taking it back will require discipline.
“What comes next for us this fall and winter is for every one of us to determine through our decisions and our actions,” Tam told a news conference. “Letting down our guard and letting this virus win is not an option.”
What’s happening in the rest of Canada
As of 1:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 234,433 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases, with 28,229 of those active. Provinces and territories listed 195,795 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,136.
Manitoba saw 349 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, along with two more deaths. One of the deaths — a woman in her 90s — is linked to an outbreak at Maples Personal Care Home in Winnipeg. The other person who died was a woman in her 50s.
Ontario added 1,015 cases of COVID-19, reaching quadruple digits for new infections for only the second time. Canada’s largest province had reported 1,042 cases on Oct. 25.
Quebec reported 1,064 new cases. Premier François Legault is urging trick-or-treaters to maintain physical distancing and follow public health guidelines as they do the rounds on Halloween.
Nova Scotia recorded five new infections, bringing the total active cases into double digits for the first time since June. There are now 11 active cases of the virus in the province.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, Vale announced a presumptive case at the Voisey’s Bay mine site in northern Labrador, with the Department of Health working to complete additional testing.
In New Brunswick, a school in Woodstock announced a case of COVID-19. Townsview School, which has about 600 students in grades K-8. will remain open on Monday as health officials conduct contact tracing.
In Yukon, the territory on Friday reported its first death. Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley said the individual was “older” and had “significant underlying medical conditions.”
What’s happening around the world
A database maintained by Johns Hopkins University put the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases reported around the world since the pandemic began at more than 45.7 million as of Saturday morning, with more than 29.7 million of those listed as recovered. The death toll reported by the U.S.-based university stood at more than 1.1 million.
In Europe, Britain on Saturday surpassed one million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The grim milestone comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new restrictions to help combat a coronavirus surge.
In Asia, China has reported six new confirmed cases in an outbreak in Xinjiang, bringing the total in the far-west region to 51. The outbreak in Shufu county, near the city of Kashgar, appears to be linked to a garment factory that employs 252 people and has since been sealed off.
In the Americas, U.S. federal health officials ended a no-sail order on cruise ships on Saturday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced new rules for the industry, such as ship owners testing all passengers and crew at the start and end of all voyages, which are limited to seven days.
In Africa, Kenya has joined the global clinical trial of Oxford University’s vaccine candidate. The vaccine candidate, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, has been developed jointly with AstraZeneca and is being evaluated in four countries: Britain, South Africa, Brazil and now Kenya.
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