Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo speaks as Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam listens during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, in West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, June 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo speaks as Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam listens during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, in West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, June 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Recent COVID-19 hotspots show ‘cases can reemerge at anytime’ in Canada, feds warn

Njoo said the recent increase in reproductive number brings home the importance of watching for outbreaks

Localized hotspots and COVID-19 outbreaks in a few areas across Canada have increased the rate of transmission for the novel coronavirus, the country’s deputy chief public health officer said in a briefing in Ottawa on Wednesday (July 8).

Dr. Howard Njoo said the coronavirus’s effective reproduction number, which represents the average number of people infected by each case, has fluctuated to above one after being below that number for the last ten weeks.

“In order for the epidemic to die out the [reproductive number] needs to remain consistently below one,” Njoo said. Effectively, that would mean that the each person infected with COVID-19 spreads the virus to less than one other person.

“The small recent increase in cases may be explained by outbreaks and community transmission in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec,” Njoo said, despite “limited to no transmission” in many other parts of Canada.

Since April, COVID-19 cases have “steeply declined” in older Canadians, with the biggest drop in people over 80 years old, who are considered at highest risk for serious consequences for the virus. Although all age groups have show an overall decline since the height of the crisis earlier this spring, younger people – especially those in their 20s and 30s – have seen a slower decline.

READ MORE: B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Njoo said the recent increase in the virus’s reproductive number brings home the importance of watching for outbreaks – even in regions where the are currently no cases.

He cited a map provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada that showed localized outbreaks in Alberta and Saskatchewan and “persistent community transmission” in and around Toronto and Montreal.

“Cases can reemerge at anytime,” he warned.

“If we relax too much, or too soon, the epidemic will most likely rebound with explosive growth as a distinct possibility.”

Modelling released Wednesday by public health officials showed that rapid case detection, timely contact tracing and quarantine measures were essential as Canada loosed restrictions.

“As we lift stay at home policies, and business and school closures, we risk the epidemic potentially resurging later in the summer and into the fall if we do not strengthen other public health measures to maintain epidemic control,” Njoo said.

“This possibility of significant resurgence is not hypothetical, as this is exactly as what we are seeing in some other parts of the world.”

READ MORE: Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes


@katslepian

katya.slepian@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

Sidney joins federal government in Reay Creek improvements

Coun. Chad Rintoul says contract to renovate Reay Creek dam makes him ‘nervous’

Lost dog reunited with family three months after going missing along Juan de Fuca trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of the Sooke rescuers

Victoria family donates 878 falafel wraps to support Beirut blast victims

Wrap and Roll pulls in $20,500 during weekend fundraiser

Reimagined campaign continues to make Vancouver Island wishes come true

#UnWinedOutside allows participants to support Make-A-Wish Foundation, local businesses

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read