OTTAWA, ON, May 22, 2021 / CNW / –
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create stress and anxiety for many Canadians, especially those who do not have easy access to their regular support networks. Through the Wellness Together Canada online portal, people of all ages across the country can access immediate, free and confidential mental health and addiction support services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Last week, we marked incredible milestones in COVID-19 vaccine delivery and immunization coverage, including delivering 4.5 million doses of vaccine ahead of the long weekend and reaching 20 million vaccines delivered to across the country! At every step, Canadians have come together individually and collectively to receive their vaccine or to help and encourage others to get immunized as provinces, territories and local communities have expanded and innovated their immunization programs. I have been encouraged and continually inspired by the creative ways in which Canadians have supported each other. A key factor that energizes our immunization efforts in Canada is the local ownership and leadership who know best how to bring community members together, providing them with access and building confidence and cultural comfort appropriate to the populations they want. they serve.
Among the many inspiring examples is the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council’s partnership with Save the Children’s National Reconciliation Program to lead a vaccine advocacy program for Indigenous youth. For this initiative, the young participants created their own innovative social media strategy to share videos on how COVID-19 has affected them and the reasons for getting vaccinated. Their videos can be found on several social media platforms by searching for their hashtags, including # IndigenousYouth4Vaccine and #SmudgeCOVID. Among other great examples of local ownership are the many vaccination clinics that use music to create a welcoming atmosphere, such as the vaccination clinic hosted by the Black Creek Community Health Center. Using music to boost morale and create a positive and uplifting atmosphere, community members are welcome, while being supported with credible information and answers to their questions to help them make informed and confident decisions. These initiatives remind us that working together is the best way to support each other in our common goal of building a vaccine bridge to lead us to a better summer and a safer fall.
As COVID-19 activity continues in Canada, we track a range of epidemiological indicators to monitor where the disease is most active, where it is spreading and how it is affecting the health of Canadians and public health, laboratory and healthcare capacities. At the same time, the Public Health Agency of Canada provides Canadians with regular updates on COVID-19 vaccines administered, immunization coverage and ongoing vaccine safety monitoring across the country. Here is the latest summary of national numbers and trends, and the action we all need to take to reduce infection rates as immunization programs grow to protect all Canadians.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,352,121 cases of COVID-19, including 57,970 active cases and 25,162 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 disease to date. They also tell us, with the results of serological studies, that a large majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. Several safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines with unique benefits are licensed Canada. As vaccine distribution continues to accelerate at an accelerated rate, there is growing optimism that widespread and lasting immunity can be achieved through COVID-19 vaccination. Benefits are seen among target groups for priority immunization and as immunization coverage increases Canada, we can look forward to further benefits to protect more Canadians in the weeks and months to come.
We are progressing steadily, with more than 30% fewer active cases compared to the peak of the third wave in mid-April. However, as COVID-19 activity remains high in many jurisdictions, strong public health measures must be maintained where COVID-19 is circulating and personal precautions are important everywhere to bring down rates of infection to people. low and manageable levels, while ensuring that our immunization rates are also high. as possible. Additionally, as resurgences have followed social gatherings over long weekends and past holidays, maintaining precautions during that long weekend remains essential to sustaining our progress.
While the latest nationwide data shows a continued decline in disease activity with an average of 5,004 cases reported daily over the past 7 days (May 14-20), a decrease of 26% from the previous week, infection rates per day, the number of cases remains high in many parts of the country. For the week of May 9 to 15, 110,492 tests were performed on average each day Canada, of which 5.6% were positive for COVID-19, up from 6.0% the previous week. Until immunization coverage is high enough to have a wider impact on disease transmission in the community, we must maintain great caution in public health and individual measures and not relax restrictions too soon or too quickly where infection rates are high.
High infection rates continue to impact lagging COVID-19 severity indicators, particularly in areas with sustained and high disease activity. Although we are starting to see some decline in these trends, a still high number of serious and critical illnesses is putting a prolonged and heavy strain on the health system and the health workforce. Provincial and territorial data indicates that an average of 3,458 people with COVID-19 were treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (May 14-20), or 10% less than last week. This includes, on average, 1,311 people who were treated in intensive care units (ICUs), down 4% from last week. Although the trend in mortality has recently stabilized, with a 7-day average of 41 deaths reported daily (May 14-20), continued high infection rates and a high number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions may continue to impact this trend.
As COVID-19 occurs in all age groups Canada, infection rates are highest among those under the age of 60. Serious illness can occur at any age, and evidence indicates that worrisome variants may be associated with more serious illness and increased risk of death. Variants of Concern (COVs) now account for the majority of COVID-19 cases in Canadawith variant B.1.1.7 now reported in all provinces and territories and accounting for over 95% of VOCs sequenced to date. As variant B.1.1.7 spreads faster and has been associated with increased severity, and since vaccines may be less effective against other variants, such as variants P.1 and B.1.351, it is still more important to remain vigilant. with all measures available to suppress the spread. The most recently designated VOC, B.1.617, has been identified in all provinces and one territory, as of May 19, 2021. Three sublines are being studied, which may have different properties. The first data from UK indicate that the B.1.617.2 sublineage may be more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 variant, while laboratory data suggests that this sublineage will not have a significant impact on vaccine efficacy . The sublines B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.3 are less well understood but may be less affected by vaccines, such as P.1 and B.1.351. Although the impact of the B.1.617 variant and sublines is still being evaluated to characterize their impact in the Canadian context, we know that vaccination, in combination with public health and individual measures, contributes to reduce the spread.
As vaccine eligibility increases, Canadians are urged to get vaccinated and to help others get vaccinated as vaccines become available. However, regardless of our immunization status, Canadians are urged to remain vigilant, to continue to follow local public health advice, and to consistently maintain individual practices that keep us and our families safe, even as we begin. to see the positive effects of COVID-19. vaccines: stay home / self-isolate if you have symptoms, think about risks and minimize non-essential activities and outings, avoid all non-essential travel, and maintain personal protective practices such as physical distancing , hand, coughing and surface hygiene and wearing a properly fitted and properly worn face shield, if applicable (including in shared spaces, indoors or outdoors, with people outside your immediate household).
To learn more about the risks and benefits of vaccination, I encourage Canadians to contact your local public health authority, your health care provider, or other reliable and credible sources, such as Canada.ca and Immunize. it. Working together, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, From Canada Chief Medical Officers of Health and other health care professionals across the country closely monitor the safety, efficacy and optimal use of vaccines to adapt approaches. As science and the situation evolve, we are committed to providing clear, evidence-based advice to keep everyone in the know Canada safe and healthy.
Canadians can also go the extra mile by sharing credible information on the risks of COVID-19 and prevention practices and measures to reduce COVID-19 in communities and downloading the COVID Alert app to break the cycle of infection and help limit the spread of COVID- 19. Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 information and resources on ways to reduce risk and protect yourself and others, including information on COVID-19 vaccination .
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada
See original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2021/22/c3349.html