Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo speaks as Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam listens during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, in West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, June 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo speaks as Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam listens during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, in West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, June 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Recent COVID-19 hotspots show ‘cases can reemerge at anytime’ in Canada, feds warn

Njoo said the recent increase in reproductive number brings home the importance of watching for outbreaks

Localized hotspots and COVID-19 outbreaks in a few areas across Canada have increased the rate of transmission for the novel coronavirus, the country’s deputy chief public health officer said in a briefing in Ottawa on Wednesday (July 8).

Dr. Howard Njoo said the coronavirus’s effective reproduction number, which represents the average number of people infected by each case, has fluctuated to above one after being below that number for the last ten weeks.

“In order for the epidemic to die out the [reproductive number] needs to remain consistently below one,” Njoo said. Effectively, that would mean that the each person infected with COVID-19 spreads the virus to less than one other person.

“The small recent increase in cases may be explained by outbreaks and community transmission in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec,” Njoo said, despite “limited to no transmission” in many other parts of Canada.

Since April, COVID-19 cases have “steeply declined” in older Canadians, with the biggest drop in people over 80 years old, who are considered at highest risk for serious consequences for the virus. Although all age groups have show an overall decline since the height of the crisis earlier this spring, younger people – especially those in their 20s and 30s – have seen a slower decline.

READ MORE: B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Njoo said the recent increase in the virus’s reproductive number brings home the importance of watching for outbreaks – even in regions where the are currently no cases.

He cited a map provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada that showed localized outbreaks in Alberta and Saskatchewan and “persistent community transmission” in and around Toronto and Montreal.

“Cases can reemerge at anytime,” he warned.

“If we relax too much, or too soon, the epidemic will most likely rebound with explosive growth as a distinct possibility.”

Modelling released Wednesday by public health officials showed that rapid case detection, timely contact tracing and quarantine measures were essential as Canada loosed restrictions.

“As we lift stay at home policies, and business and school closures, we risk the epidemic potentially resurging later in the summer and into the fall if we do not strengthen other public health measures to maintain epidemic control,” Njoo said.

“This possibility of significant resurgence is not hypothetical, as this is exactly as what we are seeing in some other parts of the world.”

READ MORE: Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Alf Todd on a mission to fight Parkinson’s disease

Todd and group hope to raise $10,000 riding bikes to Port Alberni

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: B.C. community rallies to save snared eagle

Revelstoke climber scales tree to save the raptor

Most Read