New COVID-19 models: Canada 'on our way down' first wave of COVID-19, but resurgence could come at any time

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada


In the latest projections of COVID-19 in Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, stressed the importance of identifying cases and tracing their close contacts as a way to keep the spread of the virus down in the future.

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“The virus has not disappeared and resurgence can happen at any time or at any place,” Dr. Tam said. “We are on our way down the right side of the first peak.”

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

The quicker public health officials in Canada can identify COVID-19 cases and trace contacts, followed by self-isolation measures, the less likely it is that spread will occur, allowing Canadians to keep outbreaks down.

“As restrictive public health measures are being lifted...we expected to see some resurgence of cases,” Dr. Tam said.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

Minimizing the number of close contacts each person has will also help maintain epidemic control. The more public health measures are in place and the few social spaces space people are in, the easier it will be to control the spread through contact tracing.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

Most of the cases seen to date have been in Quebec and Ontario, primarily in the more populous areas of Toronto and Montreal. The data does show that Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have seen a recent increase in cases, which exemplifies that resurgences can happen at any time, even if case numbers are relatively low.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

P.E.I., the Yukon and Northwest Territories had no community spread of the virus, and Nunavut has not had any confirmed cases. Many of the outbreaks that have occurred have been in more vulnerable, crowded settings and lower income areas which show significant health disparities.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

Earlier on in the pandemic, older Canadians made up a large portion of cases but more recently, with declines in long-term care and senior’s homes, people under the age of 40 now account for a greater number of infections.

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