OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Almost an equal amount of Canadians who have tested positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus from travel as those who got it from community transmission, Canada’s chief medical health officer said Tuesday.
But since last week, nearly 90 per cent of cases reported to the public health agency came from spread of the virus within the community, Dr. Theresa Tam said.
That represents a fundamental shift in the spread of the virus in Canada, she added.
She also notes it’s a common misconception the virus only affects the elderly or people with underlying health issues.
“All of us can potentially get this disease, and you may not be able to tell whether you’re the one who’s going to get particularly sick,” Tam said.
“I think that message, I have to admit, hasn’t really been out there enough, and that some young people may not be taking this very seriously.”
Tam reiterated her plea for Canadians to keep a safe distance apart.
1/2 Today, 210 Canadians repatriated from the Grand Princess cruise ship completed their 14 day quarantine and departed CFB Trenton.
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) March 24, 2020
“Two metres is the distance that infected droplets can spread from a cough or sneeze to others.”
She also warned to avoid coming into contact with surfaces where the virus can spread, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails and counters.
“This is why for high-risk people, it is safest to stay inside the home as much as possible,” Tam said.
“And if you do need to venture out for fresh air, keep you your hands away from your face and practice meticulous hand-washing for 20 seconds as soon as you are back home.”
Tam said globally, there are now more than 380,000 recorded cases of COVID-19 in 195 countries.
Canada has recorded close to 2,000 cases as of Tuesday and 27 deaths.
Of the 13 deaths in B.C., the majority are linked to the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.
Tam also said 210 repatriated Canadians from the Grand Princess cruise ship are now symptom-free and have been released from quarantine at CFB, Trenton in Ontario.
She also said close to 120,000 Canadians have been tested for the novel coronavirus, and, on average, 10,000 a day.