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

Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).
Katrine Conroy leading in Kootenay West

Preliminary results put NDP candidate firmly in the lead.

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read