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

Police use tear gas to apprehend Saanich woman threatening neighbours, police

Woman facing possible criminal charges after standoff with police

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

Laid-off hotel workers demanding the right to return to work at Victoria protest

Businesses in accommodation and food sector report laying off 80 per cent of workforce

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

96-year-old woman scales B.C. butte with help of family, friends

‘I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it’

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 exacerbated B.C.’s drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Officials say isolation, toxic drug supply, CERB, contributing to crisis

Camping offers a great pandemic escape, for less money than you might think

But for many first-timers, knowing what to bring can be a challenge

Turbulence in Canadian opinion on airlines COVID-19 response: poll

Thousands of people have beseeched Transport Minister Marc Garneau to compel airlines to issue refunds,

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Most Read