Canadians need to cut contacts by 25 per cent to curb second COVID-19 wave: modelling
OTTAWA -- Based on the current projections, Canadians need to decrease their current rate of contacts by 25 per cent in order to get the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic under control in this country.
According to new national modelling released on Friday, despite additional restrictions being re-imposed in regions where the virus’ spread has ramped up in recent months, the current epidemic curve does not appear to be flattening.
After surpassing the previous round of projected maximum cases and deaths, cases continue to increase and Canada is on track to see thousands of new cases and hundreds of new deaths by Nov. 8.
If we maintain our current rate of contacts, the epidemic is forecast to resurge, and a decrease of 25 per cent would mean that the spread would come under control “in most locations,” according to the presentation delivered by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo.
Tam is calling on people to avoid gatherings with people outside of their “consistent, trusted contacts” and to take all other social interactions virtual, limit non-essential outings as much as possible, and in scenarios where physical distancing can’t be maintained with people outside of your household, wear a mask. She also suggested some workplaces have more to do to ensure their employees who may have come back into workspaces over the last few months have enough safeguards in place to protect staff.
“Right now, our most powerful tool remains social distancing… In communities where cases are rising quickly, we need to keep our contacts as limited as possible. This is what it will take to slow the spread of the virus,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the press conference. “So when you’re thinking of seeing people outside your household, ask yourself: ‘Is this absolutely necessary?’ I know the situation is frustrating. I know it’s hard, but it is temporary. If we work together, cases will go down again.”
Asked whether it’s time for more widespread closures to get the second wave under control, Trudeau said that despite the increase in cases, some regions are seeing the spread slow due to more targeted measures, negating a large-scale shutdown.
“It takes time… but it is going to take weeks and months,” he said.
As of the modelling being released there have been a total of 228,542 confirmed cases nationwide over the course of the pandemic, and by the end of next week that number is on track to increase to between 251,800 and 262,000 cases.
There have been a total of 10,074 deaths recorded due to COVID-19, and that metric is also on track to grow considerably in the next several days, with the new figures projecting between 10,285 and 10,400 deaths by Nov. 8.
As has been the case throughout the health crisis, the incidence rate varies across provinces and territories, but generally over the last two weeks higher rates of infection are being reported, COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized at higher rate than was seen over the summer, and deaths are “gradually” increasing.
Over the past week, Canada has seen an average of 30 deaths per day. The current average age of death for people dying due to COVID-19-related illness is 84 years old in Canada, but ranges from ages 19 to 107.
Currently, the average test positivity rate is approaching 4 per cent nationally, and the number of health regions reporting more than 50 cases per 100,000 have nearly doubled in last few weeks, with 34 regions currently experiencing this rate.
Rates of Canadians under the age of 40 contracting the virus remain the highest, but an increase in new cases is occurring across age groups. Outbreaks are also continuing to be reported in the highest rates at long-term care and retirement residences; at schools and child-care centres; and as a result of social gatherings such as weddings, funerals and informal family or community celebrations.