Fri. May 20th, 2022

New modeling showing an average of more than 3,700 new daily cases reported against 8,500 projected cases

Article content

OTTAWA-Canada’s head of public health shot a dose of optimism into the fight against COVID-19 on Friday, saying measures put in place to stem the worst spread in Saskatchewan and Alberta appear to be working.

Advertising

Article content

And while Dr. Theresa Tam said she is encouraged by how more people are choosing to be vaccinated, her message to the provinces was clear: “You still cannot trust the vaccinations alone at this time.”

Her comments came as Canada’s public health agency released new modeling showing an average of more than 3,700 new daily cases across Canada this week – a far better situation compared to the more than 8,500 daily cases the country was originally expected to be hit by mid-September.

The more transferable Delta variant, which has made more people sick and sent them to hospitals and intensive care units, has been the country’s last enemy in its 19-month-long battle against the pandemic.

Advertising

Article content

Nationwide, Tam said cases have begun to level off as more people are vaccinated and after public health measures were reintroduced in August and September to slow transmission.

This is the first time since July that the pandemic does not appear to be in a growth pattern for the country, she said. “The curve just bends.”

Although Canada’s national fight against COVID-19 is looking up, provinces are still immersed in their own challenges. The Public Health Agency’s data show that those hardest hit were those who eliminated rules on mask use and size collection too quickly, while not enough of the population was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Alberta, followed by Saskatchewan, boasts the highest proportion of active cases out of all the provinces. Officials in both places have spent the past few weeks trying to increase hospital resources and introduce vaccine pass programs in hopes of encouraging those who have not yet been immunized to roll up their sleeves.

Advertising

Article content

“I suppose time will tell whether the individual provinces have learned from the fourth wave while vaccine coverage is rising,” Tam said Friday. “You can’t just rely on the vaccinations alone.”

On the way to Thanksgiving, Tam and Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief of Public Health, people to gather only indoors with family members and friends who have been fully vaccinated and even then try to open a window to improve ventilation.

They recommend those who are not immunized to stick with their own household and consider moving outdoors.

People should ask their guests if they have been vaccinated and “take it into account,” Tam said, acknowledging that it can feel difficult.

Advertising

Article content

Both Tam and Njoo shared some of their personal plans for the holiday, where Tam said she has no fixed plans to gather in person, but could with her fully vaccinated parents, and Njoo planned a small gathering where those who go stay immunized.

“I have had conversations with friends who are having a harder time, especially with family members who are not vaccinated at all or are only partially vaccinated,” Njoo added.

“Let’s say it’s a family member who’s not vaccinated, you have to politely explain your situation and your level of discomfort, and if they choose not to be vaccinated, it’s their choice, but it has consequences in the form of even family dynamics and others feel safe getting along. “

Advertising

Article content

Tam said it is promising to see more than 80 percent of Canadians eligible to receive a shot be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but there are still about six million eligible Canadians who are not properly immunized.

The National Board of Health modeling warns that Canada faces the risk of another increase in COVID-19 later in the fall and winter if “basic protective measures” such as masking and physical distancing are not maintained while vaccination rates are not higher.

“It is important to emphasize that even if the fourth wave subsides, COVID-19 is unlikely to disappear completely and there may still be shocks along the way,” Tam said.

The Canadian press

Advertising

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to appear on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, which is an update of a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on adjusting your email settings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.