New models show COVID-19 progress but with ‘hotspots’ to monitor

New models show COVID-19 progress but with ‘hotspots’ to monitor

New models show COVID-19 progress but with ‘hotspots’ to monitor

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer says the country appears to have largely gotten a handle on the spread of COVID-19, limiting transmission after weeks of restrictions that are being slowly eased — raising the possibility of numbers going back up.

Dr. Theresa Tam said efforts since mid-March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus seem to place the country far enough down from the peak of the first wave of the outbreak.

The figures released Monday by the Public Health Agency of Canada showed Quebec and Ontario still remain the most heavily affected regions of the country.

Tam said multiple distinct peaks in the curve for Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick should also serve as reminders that a resurgence of COVID-19 can happen in any place at any time, even in areas with low levels of community transmission.

She said that as restrictions lift, it will be even more important for Canadians to maintain physical distancing and good handwashing practices to keep case counts down, help with contact tracing and not overburden the health-care system.

“As restrictive public health measures are being lifted to minimize the unintended health, social and economic consequences (of the pandemic), we expect to see some resurgence of cases,” she said during a midday briefing on Parliament Hill.

“The key is to keep the number of cases small through ongoing core public health practices. We must be able to rapidly detect and isolate cases and quarantine their contacts in order to keep any resurgence small and manageable.”

The most recent figures provided by the federal public health agency put the country’s total number of reported cases of COVID-19 at almost 103,250, including 8,522 deaths. Tam said 64 per cent have recovered and of the more tens of thousands being tested daily, only one per cent are testing positive.

Over the last eight weeks, each new case of COVID-19 has on average infected less than one person, a key metric that public health officials watch to determine whether the pandemic is being kept under control.

At this point, transmission of the novel coronavirus and the disease it creates — COVID-19 — are under control in most jurisdictions across the country, Tam said Monday.

Any fluctuations in that figure are now the result of smaller, localized outbreaks in a handful of hotspots, including Toronto, Montreal and around the border town of Windsor, Ont. where many migrant workers have contracted the disease.

Updated modelling figures released Monday by the federal public health agency now estimate there will be between 104,000 and 108,000 cases countrywide by July 12, and between 8,545 and 8,865 deaths by the same date.

Long-term care and assisted-living homes account for roughly one-fifth of all cases, and four-fifths of all deaths.

About eight per cent of COVID-19 cases have resulted in death; just over three per cent need intensive care.

Over the last few weeks, there has been a steep decline in cases among people over age 80, which has meant that people under the age of 40 account for a greater proportion of cases nationally.

A new explosion in cases could mean a return to tight restrictions that Canadians have lived with through the spring to get COVID-19 under control, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said before the updated figures were released.

Speaking outside his Ottawa residence, Trudeau said rising COVID-19 numbers in the United States demonstrate the need for continued vigilance north of the border, including keeping physical distance from each other wherever possible.

“It is going to be really, really important that everyone remains attentive and vigilant to their own behaviours so that we can prevent a second wave from arriving as we’ve seen in many places,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau and public health officials plan to scale back the pace of their news conferences over the summer. The almost daily occurrence will now drop to twice a week for Tam and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo; Trudeau said federal officials might hold unscheduled updates if there is information to share.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

Businesses are getting creative to keep cash flowing. (File photo)
Central Albertan lobbying government to help those affected by CERB repayments

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
750 new COVID-19 cases identified in Alberta Sunday

Central zone currently has 1,182 active cases of the virus

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Public opposition to the Alberta government’s plans to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains appears to be growing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File
Alberta cancels coal leases, pauses future sales, as opposition increases

New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt welcomed the suspension

File photo
Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit recovers valuable stolen property

Property valued at over $50,000 recovered by Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit.

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File)
First Nations seek to intervene in court challenge of coal policy removal

Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish First Nations are among those looking to intervene

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Lacombe is looking at its options for reclaiming sewage lagoons that are no longer needed. Vesta Energy Ltd. has signed a deal to use three lagoons to store water for fracking.
Map from City of Lacombe
Energy company to use former Lacombe sewage lagoons to store water for fracking

Vesta Energy Ltd. will pay Lacombe more than $100,000 a year in 20-year deal

Most Read