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17th of September, 2021 – Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued a statement.

Dr. Theresa Tam,

COVID-19 Update – OTTAWA The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to monitor COVID-19 epidemiological indicators in order to detect, understand, and communicate emerging issues of concern as quickly as possible. The following is a summary of the most recent national statistics and trends.In Canada, there have been 1,564,090 cases of COVID-19 and 27,325 deaths reported since the outbreak began.

These totals represent the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date, whereas the number of active cases, which is now at 43,146, and 7-day moving averages reflect current disease activity and severity trends. The most recent national 7-day average of 4,375 new cases reported daily (Sep 10-16) represents a 16 percent increase over the previous week.

Following weeks of rising case counts, national severity trends, primarily involving unvaccinated people, are also rising. According to the most recent provincial and territorial data, an average of 1,997 people with COVID-19 were treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Sep 10-16), a 23 percent increase from the previous week.

This included an average of 673 people being treated in intensive care units (ICU), a 22% increase from the previous week, and an average of 25 deaths were reported daily (Sep 10-16).Infections and severe outcomes in Canada during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic have several key characteristics:The highly contagious Delta Variant of Concern (VOC) accounts for the majority of recently reported cases in the United States, is associated with increased severity, and may reduce vaccine effectiveness.

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The majority of reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are among unvaccinated people.Virus spread in areas with low vaccination coverage poses an ongoing risk for the emergence and replacement of new VOCs, including the possibility of VOCs that can evade vaccine protection.We know that vaccination, in conjunction with public health and individual measures, continues to work to reduce disease spread and severe outcomes, regardless of which SARS-CoV-2 variant is predominant in a given area. Evidence continues to show that a complete two-dose series of Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines provides significant protection.

Based on the most recent data from 12 provinces and territories for the eligible population aged 12 and up:From December 14, 2020 to August 28, 2021, 0.08 percent of fully vaccinated people became infected, with unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people accounting for the majority of recent cases and hospitalizations.

The average weekly rate of new COVID-19 cases in unvaccinated people was 11 times higher than in fully vaccinated people in recent weeks (August 1 – 28, 2021).When compared to fully vaccinated people, the average weekly rate of hospitalised cases in unvaccinated people was 39 times higher.Provinces and territories had administered over 54 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of September 16, 2021, with the most recent provincial and territorial data indicating that more than 85 percent of people aged 12 years or older had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 79 percent are now fully vaccinated. As of September 11, age-specific vaccine coverage data show that from 77 percent to 97 percent of people in the eligible age groups had received at least one dose, and from 66 percent to 94 percent were fully vaccinated.

As we approach the fall season, completing the final stretch to achieve very high vaccine coverage across all eligible age groups, particularly those aged 18-39 years, could be critical to mitigating the impact of the Delta-driven wave.

To protect ourselves and others, we must strive to have as many eligible people as possible fully vaccinated as soon as possible, including those who may not mount a strong immune response or who are unable to be vaccinated. Contact your local public health authorities, healthcare provider, or other trusted and credible sources, such as Canada.ca and Immunize.ca, for more information about vaccination in your area.

Canada.ca offers a wide range of COVID-19 information and resources to help Canadians understand the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination and find information on life after vaccination.

While COVID-19 is still circulating in Canada and around the world, core public health practises such as staying at home/self-isolating if you have symptoms, being aware of the risks associated with different settings, following local public health advice, and maintaining individual protective practises remain critical.

Severity of Delta-driven 4th wave depends on vaccinations: Tam

Physical distancing, in particular, and properly wearing a well-fitted and well-constructed face mask provide additional layers of protection that reduce your risk in all settings. Canadians are advised to avoid unnecessary travel outside of Canada; if you must travel, be aware of the requirements for visiting other countries and returning to Canada.Canadians can also go above and beyond by disseminating credible information about COVID-19 risks, prevention practises, and COVID-19-reduction measures in their communities.

Read my backgrounder for more COVID-19 information and resources, including information on COVID-19 vaccination.

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