Trudeau expressed concerns about the rising numbers before launching a two-day cabinet retreat in Ottawa.
Liberal cabinet retreat focuses on reducing rising COVID-19 cases
“We are not out of the woods,” Trudeau said Monday.
“The last thing anyone wants is to go into this fall in a lockdown similar to this spring. The way we can prevent that is by remaining vigilant.”
Daily case counts have fluctuated across Canada in recent weeks, with some provinces seeing more significant upticks than others. British Columbia has seen a spike in cases, months after daily case counts dropping to single digits. Ontario, Alberta and Quebec are also seeing increases. Ontario, for example, reported 313 cases on Monday — the highest single-day increase in cases since June 7. It’s also a significant jump from the 204 cases reported a day earlier.
Trudeau reiterated a call for Canadians to listen to and abide by public health measures to keep the pandemic from getting out of control.
“We need to be there for each other by keeping our distances, washing our hands, wearing masks an awful lot, and really demonstrate that we know what every single one of us can do, and must do, to control the spread of this virus,” he said.
The steady increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Canada has also concerned top health officials.
Coronavirus: Trudeau says COVID-19 has ‘exposed weaknesses’ in Canada
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the government is keeping a close eye on signs of a “resurgence” of the coronavirus in communities.
The key signal will be the R number, or reproduction number, which is a way of rating a disease’s ability to spread. It can also help identify whether or not the spread is manageable.
Nationally, that number is now “hovering above one,” Tam said last week.
“That’s not a good sign,” she said. “We do not want that to happen.”
According to Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, the R number needs to be kept “below one for a long period of time” to avoid such a resurgence.
If one person, on average, infects one other person, the R number is one. If one person, on average, infects two, the R number is two. An R of two is catastrophic. If the cycle continues, so, too, does the spread of the virus.
The next two weeks will be an important indicator in where Canada is in the pandemic, Tam said.
As Trudeau and his ministers spend Monday and Tuesday in closed-door meetings, they are expected to spend time mulling the challenge of a second wave.
Coronavirus: Dr. Tam calls case-count increase as schools reopen ‘concerning’
“We need to get through this in order to be able to talk about next steps,” Trudeau said.
“So a lot of what we’re going to be doing during this retreat will be talking about how we continue to keep COVID under control, continue to make sure that Canadians are safe, that we’re not overloading our health-care system.”
Infectious disease experts agree schools are a “major variable” in what could worsen the COVID-19 situation in Canada, leading the way to more tightened restrictions.
“Essentially, it introduces a breakage in a lot of people’s bubbles and opens up potential chains of transmission with lots and lots of people,” Alon Vaisman, an infectious disease and infection control physician at the University Health Network in Toronto, told Global News in a previous interview.
“And then, we’ll be waiting two or more weeks after the date of reopening to really understand the effect of that.”
Experts aren’t convinced Canada is on track for a second lockdown just yet.
For things to shut down again, there would need to be a rise in cases substantial enough that it overwhelms the ability to rapidly test and trace contacts, and subsequently, overwhelms hospitals.
The imminent change of season also brings along risk. As people move indoors more during colder weather, transmission risks increase, experts agree.
However, Canada is far better prepared than it was back in March.
Since the pandemic’s onset in the spring, Canada has ramped up testing and contract tracing, secured more personal protective equipment (PPE), enhanced public health measures, increased compliance with those measures and “transformed” its health-care system to handle this type of emergency, said Colin Furness, an infectious control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.
Though Furness said a second wave is “inevitable,” Canada “will be smarter in how we respond and how we defend ourselves against COVID in a way that we just weren’t in March.”
— with files from The Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada reports more than 1,200 new coronavirus cases, 7 deaths – Global News
Winnipeg police say a woman has died and several other people have been injured in a collision involving a vehicle that was fleeing police.
The crash happened at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the area of Salter Street and Boyd Avenue, police said in a statement.
According to police, officers tried to pull over a vehicle for a traffic stop but the driver “took off at a high rate of speed.”
Seconds later, the vehicle hit another car in the nearby intersection of Andrews Street and Boyd Avenue.
Four people in the vehicle that was struck — including an infant and a child — were sent to hospital. A woman who was in that vehicle has died from her injuries, police said.
Two people from the vehicle that had fled police were also transported to hospital.
Police said most of the victims are in critical or serious condition.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, which investigates serious incidents involving police, has been called to investigate.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada's death toll could hit 16000 by the end of 2020, new modelling warns – CTV News
Canada could see as many as 16,000 COVID-19 deaths by the end of the year if current public safety measures don’t change, according to new modelling from the United States that has provided accurate assessments of the American death toll.
But a Canadian pandemic modelling expert says that, while anything is possible, the American model may not be capturing the whole picture in Canada.
The model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington suggests Canada could see 16,214 deaths by Jan. 1 based on the current situation. If public safety mandates are loosened, such as physical distancing, the death toll could be even higher, hitting a projected 16,743 lives lost.
Universal masking in public spaces could curb those numbers and save thousands of lives, the model suggests, pointing to countries like Singapore that have successfully put in place masking protocols that are 95 per cent effective. Singapore has reported 27 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
If Canada were to successfully implement similar rules, the modelling predicts a death toll of 12,053.
So far Canada has reported 9,256 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 150,000 cases. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned earlier this week that the country is at the beginning of a second wave of infections as he urged Canadians to take public health guidance seriously.
Quebec is leading the country with new cases of COVID-19. On Saturday, the province reported another 698 cases, the highest daily infection numbers since May.
Dionne Aleman, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in mathematical models for pandemic prediction, said the IHME model is “simplistic” and does not account for regional differences across the country.
While a second wave of COVID-19 infections has started, Aleman points out that deaths are not in a second wave. COVID-19 deaths in Canada peaked in April and May, when more than 100 people died in connection with the virus daily. Those numbers have remained much lower in recent months, with five deaths reported on Friday.
“The fact that deaths are not tracking with infections as they did in the first wave indicates that vulnerable individuals are taking more precautions to protect themselves now, and it is reasonable to assume those precautions will continue as the second wave gets worse. This model does not account for the fact that some people are behaving differently from others, and thus, the projected deaths are likely overstated,” Aleman told CTVNews.ca on Saturday over email.
The latest modelling by the Public Health Agency of Canada does not offer predictions to the end of the year, but suggests that, based on current rates, the death toll could steadily rise to 9,300 lives lost by Oct. 2.
The IMHE modelling has proven to be accurate. Earlier this year, the model predicted that the U.S. would hit 200,000 deaths in September, a grim milestone that happened earlier this week. Now, the model predicts the U.S. death toll will nearly double by the end of the year, reaching 371,509 by Jan. 1.
The IMHE model also predicts daily infections — a number that includes people who aren’t tested for COVID-19 — could hit more than 19,000 by the end of the year.
Aleman said it’s important to remember that, even if a person doesn’t die from COVID-19, the consequences of getting sick can be serious.
“There are numerous examples of otherwise healthy individuals with severe reactions to COVID taking several weeks and even months to recover, and there are indications that there could be long-term health consequences,” she said.
“We should view these projections of exponential infection increase with great concern, and we as individuals should take every reasonable precaution to stem this increase before it is too far out of control. Wearing masks is easy and effective, and we should do it.”
Infections may be on the upswing, but Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Saturday that limiting personal contacts as much as possible can help once again flatten the curve. She encouraged Canadians to take time this weekend to chat with loved ones about how to keep their bubbles safer.
“Even if people attending an event are part of your extended family, as has been the case with some of these private gathering outbreaks, it doesn’t mean they are not infected, even if no one appears to be unwell,” Tam said in a statement.
“Despite the very real concern of a large resurgence in areas where the virus is escalating, there is still reason to be optimistic that we can get things back to the slow burn.”
B.C. university launches 1st peace and reconciliation centre in Canada – CBC.ca
The University of the Fraser Valley hopes its new Peace and Reconciliation Centre (PARC) — which the school says is the first of its kind in Canada — will help contribute to a more equitable society.
Professor Keith Carlson, the centre’s chair, said institutions like universities and governments can often reinforce unequal power structures by excluding knowledge and experience from historically-marginalized communities.
The PARC was established to counter that by “bringing new voices to the table,” he told Margaret Gallagher, guest host of CBC’s On the Coast on Thursday.
Aside from collaborating with academic departments like Peace and Conflict Studies, the PARC will offer funding and scholarships to students and faculty, as well as community members not affiliated with UFV “who are looking for partners and allies to change the world,” said Carlson.
The Abbotsford-based university says it has received substantial funding from the Oikodome Foundation, a local Christian charity.
UFV launched the PARC Thursday with a virtual event featuring speeches from Steven Point, the first-ever Indigenous chancellor of UBC, and former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, now Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Jacqueline Nolte, dean of UFV’s college of arts, said the university envisions the PARC as a hub for constructive dialogue, research and creative expression aimed at building trust among diverse communities.
“We will facilitate deep listening and mediation such that all people will feel heard and acknowledged,” she said in a news release.
The scope of the centre won’t be narrow.
Along with relations between Indigenous people and settlers, Carlson said the centre could address everything from domestic violence to interfaith conflicts in the Middle East and Ireland.
Carlson, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous and community-engaged history, echoed Nolte’s words.
“What we’re saying [is] that we value Indigenous ways of knowing,” Carlson said.
“The structures that underlie racism need to be dismantled so that everybody in this country […] will be able to enjoy all the privileges that anybody who’s of European descent [has].”
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