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

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

Mike Garland, fundraising member of the Oceanside Community Track committee, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Mike Garland’s group wants an updated running track in Parksville

Podcast: Talk includes fundraising, plans to upgrade aging facility and more

(PQB News file photo)
Some frustrated Parksville Qualicum Beach residents now tossing recyclables in garbage

Option is driving to collection centres in Nanaimo and Courtenay

Kyle Patrick McGuire was give a nine-month non-custodial sentencing to be followed by two years of probation on Wednesday, March 3, at the Nanaimo Law Courts. (PQB News file photo)
Bowser man sentenced to house arrest after guilty plea to child pornography offence

Nine-month non-custodial sentence to be followed by two years probation

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

An active transportation initiative is being planned for Electoral Area G of the Regional District of Nanaimo. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Active transportation planning sought for French Creek area

Consultant to be hired to undertake $85,000 project

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read