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Canada's top doctor, Trudeau call for tougher restrictions to stop COVID-19 spike

A health-care worker talks to people as they wait to be tested for COVID-19 at a testing clinic in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says our country is at a critical point

Canada has seen a seven per cent increase in COVID-19 patients in hospitals over past week, 23 per cent increase in ICU

Justin Trudeau says we can't let up yet on following public health measures

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The prime minister and Canada’s top doctor are sounding the alarm about the worsening third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says our country is at a critical point.

“It is clear that we need stronger control to combat variants of concern that are driving rapid epidemic growth in many areas of the country,” she told reporters on Friday amid a troubling trend of rising variant case counts and hospitalizations.

Tam explains in one week, Canada has seen a seven per cent increase in COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the country, and an increase of 23 per cent of intensive care admissions.

“The race between vaccines and variants is at a critical point,” she added.

Tam expressed concern, noting this is one of the troubling scenarios she and other health officials have warned about in COVID-19 modelling now playing out in real life.

On Thursday, B.C. reported a record-high daily case count for new infections, while Ontario posted on Friday more than 4,000 cases, also marking a record high.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agrees and says we can’t let up yet on following public health measures.

“This third wave is more serious and we need to hang in there for another few weeks,” he said Friday. “I know you’ve already done so much and sacrificed so much, but we just need you to hang in there a little bit longer.”

Trudeau says the path out of this pandemic is vaccines and that that is his number one priority. He has dismissed suggestions the federal government intervene in some provinces to ensure appropriate restrictions and quicker vaccinations are taking place.

Instead, he says this is a team-Canada effort and that he would prefer to work with premiers to address the health crisis.

Trudeau notes talks are ongoing with the U.S. to potentially access more AstraZeneca shots that are sitting unused.

“We will keep working with them and ensure that we get more doses as soon as we can,” the prime minister added.

Canada is expecting at least 44-million vaccine doses by the end of June.

So far, 10.5-million shots have been delivered to provinces and territories, while more than 7.2-million doses have been administered.