Canadians must ‘really reduce’ contacts as coronavirus surges: Tam

Canadians need to reduce their contacts to get COVID-19 under control, the country’s top doctor said as she presented new modelling on the trajectory of the pandemic.

“If we increase, or if even maintain our current rate of contact, the epidemic in Canada is forecast to continue increasing steeply,” Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said at a press conference in Ottawa Friday.

The modelling shows that the national death toll could rise to 10,285 or 10,400 by Nov. 8, and the number of cases could range between 251,800 and 262,000.

Read more: Canada posts 2nd-highest total of new coronavirus cases as U.S., world smash records

Tam said Canada’s average case numbers are above peak levels during the first wave, with Quebec and Ontario accounting for more than 75 per cent of cases.

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She noted that that British Columbia, the prairie provinces and Ontario have marked their highest case counts to date.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also urged Canadians in areas where cases are rising quickly to keep their contacts as low as possible.

“Right now, our most powerful tool remains social distancing,” he said.

Click to play video 'Trudeau warns of rough winter ahead, admits pandemic ‘really sucks’' 4:02 Trudeau warns of rough winter ahead, admits pandemic ‘really sucks’

Trudeau warns of rough winter ahead, admits pandemic ‘really sucks’

The modelling figures come amid a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases. On Thursday, more than 2,900 new coronavirus cases were recorded across the country, the second-highest total reported to date.

Overall, 229,197 cases have been diagnosed in Canada since the pandemic broke out, and 10,083 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

While young people are most commonly infected, Tam said there has been a “concerning rise” of cases among those 80 and over.

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