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

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Union Bay electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Black Creek residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

The Northeast Woods in Comox is a popular area for hikers and mountain bike riders. It's also a protected park and conservation area. Photo by Scott Stanfield
Comox Valley RCMP seeking witnesses to ‘indecent act’ in Northeast Woods

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after a man was seen… Continue reading

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells is pictured in December 2018 presenting Marla Ayre, and her children Hunter and Marissa, with keys to their new home at the Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North’s Lake Trail Road project. File photo
Courtenay council gives green light to next Habitat build

Courtenay council adopted a bylaw to allow Habitat for Humanity to construct… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read