A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

The country’s top doctor is warning Canadians that they may not yet have seen the deaths and hospitalizations associated with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Canada surpassed 200,000 cases on Monday (Oct. 19) as Saskatchewan’s record of 66 daily cases pushed the country to a grim new milestone.

In a statement, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said there have been at least 9,760 deaths reported over the course of the pandemic, with Monday’s total yet to come in from all provinces. Tam said that “as hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts” associated with recent surges of the novel coronavirus.

In the last seven days, there have been on average 893 people being treated for COVID-19 in Canadian hospitals each day, with about 178 in ICU. Canada reported an average of 20 deaths each day over the past week.

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec, which have seen record-breaking numbers this month. Ontario hit a single-day record of 939 new cases on Oct. 9, with 704 recorded on Monday. In Quebec, there were 1,0138 new cases reported Monday, down from its own record of 1,279 new cases Saturday. Ontario recorded four deaths on Monday, while Quebec had six.

B.C. has seen high numbers of new cases in recent weeks, with the latest figures showing 155 new infections and one death on Friday, not far below the record of 165 hit in September. B.C. health officials are expected to update that number with weekend cases later this afternoon.

Tam also reiterated warnings from public health officials for Canadians to get their flu shots this year and continue to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures, including staying home when sick, physically distancing, wearing a mask when distance cannot be maintained and maintaining good hygiene and sanitization measures.

“We are entering flu season, a time when hospitals generally see increased activity due to influenza and to other respiratory infections,” she said. “This is why it is so important for people of all ages to keep up with public health practices that keep the infection rate low.”

ALSO READ: Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21


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