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COVID-19 modelling projects Canada could see 20,000 to 60,000 cases a day by end of 2020

Last Updated Nov 20, 2020 at 8:46 am PST

Summary

New federal modelling suggests Canada could see between 20,000 and 60,000 cases a day by the end of the year

Data says Canada could see 60,000 daily COVID-19 cases if Canadians increase social contacts

New federal figures show rapid spread of COVID-19 in six provinces

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Official modelling data shows Canada is on track to see tens of thousands of new cases of COVID-19 a day by the end of the year.

If Canadians increase contact with others outside their household, daily case counts nationally could skyrocket to 60,000 a day, health officials warn.

“Without sufficient reduction in contact rates, we are forecasting to have 20,000 cases daily by the end of December, with an attended increase in hospitalizations and deaths,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday.

The current average daily case count is close to 4,800, however, data released on Friday shows there is a rapid spread of COVID-19 in six provinces: B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. That includes new outbreaks at long-term care homes and in Indigenous communities, as well as increases in hospitalizations and deaths across the country.

“The national epidemic curve shows that case counts have far surpassed peak levels seen during the first wave,” Tam said, adding, “15 per cent more daily cases were reported this week compared to the last.”

The current daily case count is already straining the health care system across the nation. In B.C., Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said weeks ago that contact tracers were already having a hard time keeping up with the hundreds of cases a day.

Tam warned we can’t afford to make the situation worse.

“The strain on health systems has resulted in hospitals having to postpone important medical procedures while critical care beds for COVID-19 patients have reached or are at near-maximum capacity in some areas,” she said.

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Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu added we have to crack down on our contacts with others and follow health advice, telling Canadians we can’t give up now.

“We see the light. The potential of vaccines and spring. But we also have to get there first,” she said.

The forecasts predict that at current rates Canada’s case total could land between 366,500 and 378,600 and the death toll could fall between 11,870 and 12,120 by the end of the month.


A week ago, Tam warned that the country was on track to hit more than 10,000 new cases a day by early December.

“To date, there are about 52,000 active cases in Canada, and despite having over 315,000 cumulative cases, less than one per cent of the population across the country has tested positive for COVID-19 to date,” Tam said Friday. “This is an important reminder that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to infection.”

The new modelling was presented to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and opposition leaders in a rare, joint-briefing Thursday night.

Trudeau is expected to address Canadians at 8:30 a.m. PST on Friday from Rideau Hall.