Canada’s top doctor on Saturday painted a vague picture of the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic would have on the country, raising fears that the number of hospitals and the number of deaths related to the pandemic could rise in the coming weeks as the second wave takes the national death toll to 10,000.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tom said the number of Canadians suffering from a serious illness was already on the rise, with both provinces reporting new single-day highs on Saturday.
According to figures from the Public Health Agency in Canada, the number of active COVID-19 cases has increased by 16 percent per week.
Tom said an average of 1,010 patients were being treated in the hospital every day during the past week, 20 percent of whom were in intensive care.
The average daily death associated with the virus in the last seven days has risen to 23, up from six deaths six weeks ago.
However, Tom says the most critical health consequences associated with Spike have not yet emerged.
“As hospital admissions and deaths lag behind increased disease activity from one to several weeks, we have not yet seen the serious effects associated with an increase in COVID-19 disease activity,” she said in a statement.
“Also, influenza and respiratory infections usually increase in the fall and winter, causing increased demands on hospitals. That is why it is important for people of all ages to maintain public health practices that keep the rate of respiratory infection low.”
The death toll has pushed the country to a terrible milestone, with the death toll at 9,922 as of Saturday afternoon. The national case totaled 213,958.
On the same day, 978 new coronavirus cases were reported in Ontario, leading to six more deaths.
Despite the horrific count, politicians from the Halton area of the province published a letter Saturday appealing for an exemption from austerity measures.
The Ontario government has already moved the hotspots in Ottawa, Toronto and neighboring York and Peel to the revised Stage 2, where indoor dining in bars and restaurants has been discontinued. Rising case numbers elsewhere Premier Doug Ford announced Friday that authorities will review the situation in Halton, Durham Region and elsewhere.
In Quebec, daily cases again topped the 1,000 mark, with 26 deaths and 549 patients now in the hospital, 17 percent of whom are in intensive care.
The average daily number of cases there is higher than in other provinces, but it appears to be currently plateau from a high of 1,364 on October 6, the same week that tough new sanctions came into force.
However, Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto who studies infectious diseases, said the vast majority of cases in Canada are unlikely to decline unless drastic measures are taken.
“It’s a growing disease and when things get worse they come with gangbusters. We see it all over the world right now, especially in Europe, ”Morris said.
“When it comes to adults, you are going to see more people with serious illness. I believe we are currently where this growth is most inevitable if there is no more substantial action to try to suppress this second wave. ”
School closures should be a last resort, but may require stricter restrictions on group meetings and indoor activities, Morris said.
“It’s a mentality … when people hear that there is still free will from the government, it also tells them that it’s not really that bad.”
Manitoba topped the 100 new cases for the fifth day in a row, with 153 new cases and two additional deaths recorded on Saturday.
The outbreak was reported at two units at Winnipeg’s Victoria General Hospital, as well as the Agassiz Youth Center in Portage la Prairie.
Saskatchewan announced 78 new cases of COVID-19, making it the second province to report a new single-day high on Saturday.
Alberta once again broke two records on Friday, reporting an unprecedented 432 new cases and 3,651 active cases before the weekend.
The province topped this month as a whole with 140 new cases and 1,546 active cases as of October 1st.
– With files from Holy McKenzie-Sutter and Rob Drink డwater
Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
Want to support local journalism during the epidemic? Donate Here.