Canada is on track to reach between 531,300 and 577,000 total COVID-19 cases by Christmas Day, and up to 14,920 deaths, according to the latest national modelling released on Friday.
The federal projections show that Canada is on a “rapid growth trajectory” and is not at all flattening the curve of the second wave of cases in this country, though the recent introduction of more stringent measures in some provinces could make an impact over the next few weeks.
“Critical care beds are at, or near maximum capacity in many areas,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, who presented the new figures alongside Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo.
The modelling included a long-range forecast that shows: “a stronger response is needed now” in all large provinces, to slow the spread of COVID-19.
With the holidays around the corner, the modelling shows that if people maintain their current rate of contact with others the pandemic will continue to surge.
The latest projections show that over the last seven days, Canada is averaging more than 6,500 new COVID-19 cases daily, and 49 of Canada’s 99 health regions are reporting more than 100 cases per 100,000 people.
The country is trending towards seeing daily cases cross the 10,000-a-day threshold by January.
As cases keep climbing, so too is the number of COVID-19 infections among high-risk adults and inside long-term care facilities and in First Nations communities.
“Ongoing high rates of infection in communities continuously leads to new infections, more and larger outbreaks, and spread into schools and high-risk settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, and shelters, where spread is further amplified in close settings,” said Tam. “This is a difficult cycle of spread that can’t be managed through outbreak response alone.”
Hospitalizations are increasing in most provinces west of the Atlantic region, and COVID-19 deaths are “steadily rising,” with the country approaching an average of 94 deaths daily.
Tam said that over the last week, an average of 2,900 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals on any given day, including 565 people who were in ICU.
“On average, the length of stay for people hospitalized for COVID-19 is about 17 days, or about 24 days for those experiencing more severe illness,” she said.
In order to get the public health crisis under control, federal officials continue to urge people to reduce their close contacts by only engaging in essential activities and observing public health precautions, such as physical distancing and mask-wearing, when celebrating this holiday season.
“COVID-19 is still presenting a very clear danger to Canadians all across the country. We know that the vaccine is an important part of the solution in stopping spread and reducing deaths, but we have a lot of work to do together as a country in the next several months,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu on Friday. “We’re entering into a very tricky period of time, of course it’s the holiday season, many of us are looking forward to a rest from our workplaces and an opportunity to have some downtime. But we’re going to have to be very, very cautious during the next several weeks.”
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
The Public Health Agency of Canada has released a guide for planning holiday celebrations that asks people to follow local public health guidance, consider the risks of any get together, and how to travel safely if it is essential to do so.