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Canadians must reduce contacts by 25 per cent to bring COVID-19 cases down: modelling

Last Updated Oct 30, 2020 at 11:02 am PST

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Canada's top doctor is warning COVID-19 case numbers could spike further if Canadians don't act now

Modelling shows Canadians need to reduce number of people they're in contact with by 25 per cent to make difference

Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada could see 8,000 new cases a day by December if things don't change

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – If we want to see COVID-19 cases go down in Canada, we need to reduce the number of people we’re currently coming into contact with by 25 per cent, according to the country’s top doctor.

Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday new modelling data shows if Canadians decrease their rate of contacts, the epidemic would be brought under control in most places.

“Canada’s Rt (reproduction number) has been greater than one since the end of August, meaning that every 100 cases in Canada passes the virus to more than 100 others and so on, with each new generational spread getting larger. We need to limit our contacts and opportunities for the virus to spread to bring the Rt consistently below one,” she explained.

If we continue with our current rates of contact, however, she said COVID-19 case counts could reach 8,000 per day by December. Currently, Canada is recording a daily average of about 3,000 new cases.

“The key message is that if we increase, or if we even maintain our current rate of contact with others, the epidemic in Canada is forecasted to continue increasing steeply,” Tam added.

Infections continue to remain highest among those under the age of 40.

Tam said labs across Canada continue to test at a high rate, and with that, the country has seen a “worryingly” rising number of positive tests.

“Currently, the average percent positivity is approaching four per cent nationally, and there have been some concerning spikes in test positivity in some provinces recently,” she said.

Canada has recorded more than 231,000 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 10,000 deaths have been associated with the coronavirus.