People get exercise outside on the lake shore path along Lake Ontario in Toronto on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Health officials and the government has asks that people stay inside to help curb the spread of the coronavirus also known as COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

People get exercise outside on the lake shore path along Lake Ontario in Toronto on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Health officials and the government has asks that people stay inside to help curb the spread of the coronavirus also known as COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

‘Not a sprint, a marathon’: As Canada’s COVID-19 case counts slow, deaths climb

Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, says easing restrictions must still protect vulnerable people

With ears perked across the country for when health officials will begin easing the strict measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Canada’s top doctor is reminding the public that tiding the virus is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Roughly 503,000 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus, with a positive test rate of six per cent, said Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, during a news conference on Friday morning (April 17).

Canada’s latest tally on Friday showed that there have been 30,000 cases confirmed by lab testing. Across the provinces, 1,250 people have died. Meanwhile, 10,000 people have recovered from the respiratory illness, which has no cure of vaccine, making the total number of active cases roughly 18,750.

ALSO READ: B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada: here are a few reasons why

But while daily case counts start to slow death tolls are climbing, Tam explained, due to the prolonged nature of the virus’s incubation and recovery time and because such a high proportion of outbreaks are in long term care centres.

“It creates a bit of a paradox where early in an epidemic we see a rapid growth of new infections but not so with deaths,” she said, “but as the epidemic begins to slow, deaths accumulate at a faster pace.”

More than 90 per cent of the patients confirmed to have died from COVID-19 are over the age of 60, and half of them lived in long term care centres, according to statistics from Health Canada.

Federal models are now predicting between 1,200 and 1,620 deaths from COVID-19 by April 21. Last week the projections expected between 500 and 700 deaths this week.

“At this important junction, intense public health efforts are needed to stamp out existing outbreaks, prevent new outbreaks and manage chains of transmission in the community,” Tam said. “To get this done, without slipping backwards, all Canadians need to stay home and practise physical distancing.”

While it is unclear just how long COVID-19 will impact daily life, the federal government is preparing for at least some restrictions to last into the summer.

In his daily briefing out front of Rideau Cottage, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government is planning a virtual Canada Day celebration in place of the typical gathering at Parliament Hill, which will feature Canadian artists.

WATCH: New COVID-19 testing machine takes load off B.C.’s virologists and labs

In B.C., health officials have cautioned that it could be awhile until British Columbians gain some normalcy. If some of the restrictions are to be lifted, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned that those same provisions could return by the fall.

Any changes to measures taken by individual provinces will have to keep the nation in mind, Tam notioned.

“No matter where we are in the country we have to remember that Canadians are all susceptible to the virus,” she said. “Remember this is not a sprint it is a marathon and there will only be unpleasant surprises if we quit early.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A partnership is looking to identify skeletal remains that were discovered by recreational divers in the Gorge Waterway this February. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Divers find partial human skull in Gorge Waterway

B.C. Coroner Service determines remains likely historical, not ancestral

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Realty/Submitted).
Sidney calls on Victoria Airport Authority to improve design of planned warehouse

Council stops short of a definitive statement for or against proposal

The Victoria Police Department is looking for help identifying a person of interest after an April 29 hit-and-run. (VicPD handout)
Victoria police looking for suspect in hit-and-run investigation

The suspect was driving a four-door grey Dodge Ram 1500 truck

A man was arrested after allegedly threatening people downtown on May 10 while brandishing this knife. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Man armed with a knife arrested for allegedly threatening people in downtown Victoria

Officers used de-escalation techniques during afternoon arrest

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read