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article imageCanada sees an alarming uptick in coronavirus case numbers

By Karen Graham     Oct 14, 2020 in Health
Ottawa - Although Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba lead the country in active COVID-19 cases, Canada's smaller provinces in the Prairie region and Atlantic Canada are also beginning to see an alarming uptick in numbers.
On Tuesday, both British Columbia and Manitoba reported their largest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. For Manitoba, it was the province's third record-breaking day in less than a week, with 124 new cases on Tuesday. It was also the province's first triple-digit tally.
Manitoba's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said 95 of the cases were in Winnipeg, which now has a positivity rate of 4.4 percent. Province-wide, the positivity rate is 3.5 percent.
Roussin said another lockdown is not needed now, because the health care system is handling the increased demand for services, but he warned that climbing case counts and growing community transmission have strained contact tracing resources.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has officially declared the city a Code Red Zone - the most severe classification on a four-color scale used by public health officials to determine the severity of COVID-19 in the community.
"Last week we saw over 700 new cases in one week, and an average of 44 individuals in hospital. In addition, 33 new outbreaks were declared, which is double from the week prior when 16 new outbreaks were declared," OPH wrote in a statement.
Earl Brown, a professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, says the real danger in the rising number of cases is the possibility they will overwhelm the healthcare system.
Civic Hospital  Ottawa
Civic Hospital, Ottawa
SimonP (CC BY-SA 3.0)
"The concern is that we would get to a place where we have hallway medicine and people couldn't come to the hospital," he said. "We don't want to get anywhere near that."
According to Brown, current modelling by Health Canada suggests Ottawa could reach between 800 and 1,000 cases a day by Christmas if the spread of the virus isn't controlled.
As it is, many hospitals have already reached capacity: Queensway Carleton Hospital is currently at 95 percent capacity overall; Ottawa Hospital's General campus is at 101.5 percent capacity and the Civic campus is at 107.1 percent capacity.
New outbreak puts Atlantic bubble at risk
New Brunswick reported six new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and declared an outbreak at Manoir de la Sagesse, a special-care home in Campbellton. This follows another outbreak at a special-care home in Moncton.
These latest developments have prompted the Chief Public Health Office in P.E.I. to advise Islanders to avoid non-essential travel in and out of the Moncton region.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has some good news for the kids this Halloween. She says Canadians don't have to cancel trick-or-treating this year, as long as children and parents take special pandemic precautions.
And to avoid confusion, Tam stressed that parents and children should follow guidelines set by local health authorities, as some local COVID-19 caseloads are far larger than others.
More about Canada, coronavirus, Ottawa, smaller provinces, code red
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