Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam gestures as she speaks at a press conference on COVID-19, at West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

New Canadian modelling shows COVID-19 waning but relaxing restrictions still risky

Canada has had 93,441 positive cases and 7,543 death

Canada’s top doctor says the country has been successful at slowing the spread of COVID-19 but is warning that relaxing public health restrictions too quickly or too soon could lead to a rampant resurgence of the disease.

Dr. Theresa Tam presented a new report on the novel coronavirus in Canada, including new short-term projections that say between 157 and 1,857 more Canadians could die of COVID-19 in the next 11 days.

The projections, based on recent trends, estimate in the best-case scenario at least another 4,459 people will be diagnosed with COVID-19 by June 15, and in the worst-case scenario there will be more than 14,000 new cases by then.

“As Canada has experienced these outbreaks a lot has been learned,” said Tam.

She said initial models were partly based on knowledge of how the virus spreads and what the known incubation period is, while these numbers are now based more on actual case data in Canada.

As of Thursday, Tam said, Canada has had 93,441 positive cases and 7,543 deaths.

Tam said most of the country has seen spread of the disease diminish substantially but there remain hot spots of community transmission in Toronto and Montreal that are concerning. In the last two weeks, Ontario and Quebec accounted for 90 per cent of new cases, and most of those were in those two cities.

She said as the country relaxes some measures, with more people returning to work and going out, it is critical to practice physical distancing, wear face masks and wash hands frequently. The health system also has to make sure it is keeping on top of testing and tracing new cases so patients can be identified and isolated as soon as possible.

The report says the longer-term outlook for the virus really depends on how well Canadians follow those practices. With a high degree of physical distancing, and case testing and tracing, Canadians can expect that the number of new cases will stay very low, including no real second wave in the fall.

With weaker controls, a surge of cases could see half of Canadians infected, with a rising number of cases throughout the summer and into next winter.

With no controls at all, as many as 80 per cent of Canadians will get infected by the end of the summer.

“It doesn’t take very long for an outbreak to really gain some steam,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier Wednesday he is encouraged by the overall trends in Canada but warned the country is not out of the woods.

Clusters of cases of COVID-19 have disproportionately affected institutional settings including long-term care homes, hospitals, prisons and meat plants. More than 80 per cent of deaths of COVID-19 in Canada are linked to long-term care and retirement homes.

Canada’s largest single outbreak is linked to the Cargill meat-processing plant in Alberta, with 1,560 cases including workers, their family members and others in their communities.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

BC Cancer mobile mammography coach coming to Haida Gwaii this month

Breast cancer screening appointments still available; clients asked to bring a face mask

Haida Gwaii residents to be allowed conditional entry to Gwaii Haanas next month

Gwaii Haanas will reopen Aug. 1 to people who ‘attest to a set of specific conditions’ set out by CHN

Following incident at sea, fishing lodge says it will reopen despite Haida travel ban

QCL reopens July 10, says president; Haida chief councillor describes ‘dangerous’ boating encounter

More than $1.2 million announced for Masset water treatment plant upgrades

Residents of Masset, Old Massett to benefit from $1,241,500 in joint provincial-federal funding

From the archives of the Haida Gwaii Observer

50 YEARS AGO (1970): Highways Minister Wesley Black visited the islands and… Continue reading

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Most Read