Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada on track to see 8,000 new COVID cases a day if contacts not cut by 25%

Dr. Theresa Tam has urged people to reduce in-person socializing

Canada’s top doctor says latest projects show the country could be recording 8,000 new COVID-19 cases each day into December.

The projections, released Friday (Oct. 30), come as B.C. sees more record-breaking daily case counts.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 6 new COVID-19 deaths and a record-breaking 1,120 cases over weekend

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the country has lost its lead in the ongoing “dance” with COVID-19 after curbing cases over the summer.

She added that regaining back control of transmission rates 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 said during a news conference.

“Letting down our guard and letting this virus win is not an option.”

There is a silver lining: If Canadians reduce their contact with others by 25 per cent, new cases could drop below 2,000, modelling data suggests.

Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and B.C. have been seeing increasing COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, prompting regional lockdowns in some areas.

Also on Friday, health officials in B.C. gave individual health authorities the power to enforce and introduce regulations as needed in response to some regions – particularly the Lower Mainland – seeing large spikes in daily case counts. This followed an earlier health order that bans household gatherings from including more people than household members and a person’s “safe six.”

When asked if British Columbians could expect some restrictions to be put back in place, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said while we are in a “danger” zone of the second wave, B.C. isn’t looking at a full lockdown at this time.

“Our plan, which we have worked on together across the province when we began our restart, was it goes in one way only and that we need to learn how do we live with this virus and reduce these settings where we know ttransmission is happening,” Henry said on Thursday (Oct. 29), pointing to the ban on nightclubs ordered in September.

Henry urged people not to put expectations on family and friends to attend household gatherings if they aren’t comfortable – especially as flu and cold season collide with the winter months of the ongoing pandemic, making it difficult to know if someone has the novel coronavirus or a seasonal virus.

“We need to make it OK for us to stay apart safely through these coming months, and that is what we need to do to find our way through this stage of the pandemic in B.C. We do not have any intent of closing down those important things in our community, that keep our community strong and well.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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