Canada at ‘crossroads’ in battling COVID-19 as cases accelerate nationally, officials say

Canada at ‘crossroads’ in battling COVID-19 as cases accelerate nationally, officials say

Canada is at a “crossroads” in controlling COVID-19 and actions of individual Canadians will determine whether cases continue to rise or can come under control, according to the latest projections from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Federal health officials presented new modelling today that shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally.

If the current rate of contacts is maintained, the epidemic is forecast to resurge, but if that rate of contacts increases, it is expected to resurge “faster and stronger.”

Rapid detection and response to outbreaks are key to controlling transmission of the virus, modelling documents from PHAC show.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Tam and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo are joined by Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand at a news conference in Ottawa at noon. 

CBC News is carrying it live.

The last modelling figures were released on Aug. 14. At that time, Canada’s top doctors said they were striving for a best-case scenario but preparing for the worst: a so-called “fall peak” of COVID-19 cases across Canada that threatens to overwhelm the public health-care system.

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) officials said they were aiming for a “slow burn” scenario, in which the number of cases remains low to ensure the public health-care system can deal with the influx of patients.

But officials were also planning for a “reasonable worst-case scenario,” where a fall spike in infections is followed by ongoing peaks and valleys that put excessive demands on the health system.

The fall rise in cases coincides with the flu and cold season, potentially putting added strains on hospitals and other health resources.

Health-care workers have already been working on the front lines for several months and are now bracing for a possible spike in hospitalizations, prompting concerns about potential burnout.

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