People get exercise outside on the lake shore path along Lake Ontario in Toronto on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Health officials and the government has asks that people stay inside to help curb the spread of the coronavirus also known as COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

‘Not a sprint, a marathon’: As Canada’s COVID-19 case counts slow, deaths climb

Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, says easing restrictions must still protect vulnerable people

With ears perked across the country for when health officials will begin easing the strict measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Canada’s top doctor is reminding the public that tiding the virus is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Roughly 503,000 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus, with a positive test rate of six per cent, said Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, during a news conference on Friday morning (April 17).

Canada’s latest tally on Friday showed that there have been 30,000 cases confirmed by lab testing. Across the provinces, 1,250 people have died. Meanwhile, 10,000 people have recovered from the respiratory illness, which has no cure of vaccine, making the total number of active cases roughly 18,750.

ALSO READ: B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada: here are a few reasons why

But while daily case counts start to slow death tolls are climbing, Tam explained, due to the prolonged nature of the virus’s incubation and recovery time and because such a high proportion of outbreaks are in long term care centres.

“It creates a bit of a paradox where early in an epidemic we see a rapid growth of new infections but not so with deaths,” she said, “but as the epidemic begins to slow, deaths accumulate at a faster pace.”

More than 90 per cent of the patients confirmed to have died from COVID-19 are over the age of 60, and half of them lived in long term care centres, according to statistics from Health Canada.

Federal models are now predicting between 1,200 and 1,620 deaths from COVID-19 by April 21. Last week the projections expected between 500 and 700 deaths this week.

“At this important junction, intense public health efforts are needed to stamp out existing outbreaks, prevent new outbreaks and manage chains of transmission in the community,” Tam said. “To get this done, without slipping backwards, all Canadians need to stay home and practise physical distancing.”

While it is unclear just how long COVID-19 will impact daily life, the federal government is preparing for at least some restrictions to last into the summer.

In his daily briefing out front of Rideau Cottage, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government is planning a virtual Canada Day celebration in place of the typical gathering at Parliament Hill, which will feature Canadian artists.

WATCH: New COVID-19 testing machine takes load off B.C.’s virologists and labs

In B.C., health officials have cautioned that it could be awhile until British Columbians gain some normalcy. If some of the restrictions are to be lifted, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned that those same provisions could return by the fall.

Any changes to measures taken by individual provinces will have to keep the nation in mind, Tam notioned.

“No matter where we are in the country we have to remember that Canadians are all susceptible to the virus,” she said. “Remember this is not a sprint it is a marathon and there will only be unpleasant surprises if we quit early.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@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

Creekside Apartments gets utility charge relief from Port Hardy council

The apartment building is undergoing restoration from a fire that happened back in 2017.

LETTER: It’s a labour of love keeping the Port Alice golf course running

‘We North Islanders are indeed fortunate to have two gorgeous golf club’

Mowi’s B.C. salmon farms achieve environmental certification from independent watchdog

Aquaculture Steward Council certification complies with 500 sustainability and social measures

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants north of the Malahat

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Author chronicles churches built by pioneers in the Salish Sea

B.C. author Liz Bryan preserving a little bit of pioneer history in her latest book

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Minivan driver’s speed a factor in fatal 2018 Malahat crash

Driver was travelling at 110 km/h in a construction zone

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read