OTTAWA — New national modelling on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada shows that “hotspots” remain in Ontario and Quebec, and the percentage of younger people contracting the virus has increased in proportion to a decrease in older patients in the last month.
Federal health officials are projecting that as of July 12 the country could see between 103,940 and 108,130 cases, and between 8,545 and 8,865 deaths.
To date, there are 103,818 confirmed Canadian COVID-19 cases, of which 64 per cent have recovered, while there have been 8,566 deaths.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo are providing a revised picture of the current epidemic in this country.
The latest federal figures indicate that the two main hotpots remain around Toronto and Montreal, as well as in pockets of Saskatchewan and southern Ontario, but that overall Canada’s experience with the novel coronavirus has been a case of regional epidemics, with some provinces and territories going weeks now without new cases.
The health officials said that the daily numbers of hospitalized and critical care cases are also steadily declining as recoveries increase. The modelling also shows that while there has been a steep decline in transmission among older age groups, there has been a relative increase in Canadians aged 20-39 contracting COVID-19 since late May.
“As the epidemic has slowed the incident rate has steadily declined in all age groups. But the decline has been relatively slow in younger age groups… Individuals under the age of 40 now account for a greater proportion of total cases in recent weeks,” Tam said.
Dr. Tam said that in order for COVID-19 to “die out” in Canada, effective reproduction number (Rt) — the average number of people infected by each case—needs to remain below one, and Canada’s Rt rate has been less than one for eight weeks.
Tam also cautioned that outbreaks have also recently been linked to social gatherings, particularly in closed settings with close contacts like funerals or other family gatherings. She is advising people to limit keep the number of close contacts people have and avoid enclosed and crowded spaces.