Speaking in Ottawa, Justin Trudeau said officials will have a better idea of how long the crisis will last once models and forecasts are developed, but success will depend on how well Canadians practice distancing habits. .
“Staying at home, continuing this period of isolation and distance is the best way to get out as quickly as possible, but it will certainly be several weeks, even months,” said the Prime Minister in his daily update. from Ottawa.
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New infections and new deaths continued to be reported across the country on Monday, with a total of 16,500 cases and 321 deaths reported at 3 p.m.
Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s highest public health official, said she was particularly concerned about the recent outbreaks in hospitals and long-term care homes, which have been reported in several provinces.
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One of the worst of these outbreaks is the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, where three other residents died on Sunday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths at the facility to 26.
Tam said that while older people are at a higher risk of complications, people in their twenties have also died and no one should consider themselves immune.
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But Tam also said there were reasons to be optimistic about the effectiveness of the outreach efforts.
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She said the case of British Columbia, which has seen a decrease in the number of new cases over the past week, is reason to believe that collective action could help slow the pandemic.
“As Canadians, we cannot show our pride outside, but our hearts are full and we are determined people,” she said. “When someone says to flatten the curve, we say,” We’re going to do it. “”
Tam also updated the guidelines on wearing non-medical masks, amid what she said is growing evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by infected people who have not started to show symptoms or that never get sick.
As a result, public health officials have concluded that simple cloth masks can help prevent the carrier from spreading the virus to others in places where physical distance is difficult, she said.
She stated that the masks worn in this way have not been proven to protect the people wearing them, and they do not exonerate the wearers of other measures they should take against COVID-19, including the physical distance and regular hand washing.
While deaths have increased by 13 in Ontario and 27 in Quebec, officials in the two provinces have also seen reason to be optimistic.
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Ontario reported 309 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, for a total of 4,347 cases, including 132 deaths and 1,624 patients who have recovered.
The total number of cases reported on Monday was 7.7% higher than the previous day’s total – a smaller percentage increase than in previous days.
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In Quebec, Prime Minister François Legault said there was “light at the end of the tunnel”, despite 27 new deaths and a total number of cases that reached more than 8,500.
While the province recorded 636 new cases, Legault noted that the number appeared to be stabilizing and that the total number of hospitalizations had increased by only eight compared to the previous day.
“If we can have this for a few days, it would mean that we are approaching the summit,” he told reporters in Quebec City about the infection rate in the province. “I don’t want to speculate, but that’s right, the numbers are encouraging today. “
The leaders all stressed that now is not the time to back off from physical distancing measures, including staying at home as much as possible.
Application of social distancing
Trudeau has been working from home since his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 13.
He said that even if he planned to return to the office in the coming days, he would mainly continue to work from home because “this is what we ask everyone.”
Meanwhile, Trudeau said more than 300,000 people successfully applied for emergency financial assistance in the first hours after the federal government opened the process on Monday. The benefit provides weekly payments of $ 500 to workers who have lost their income due to the pandemic.
The Prime Minister has suggested that the 16-week program be expanded to provide assistance to people whose hours have been reduced but not eliminated, and has promised help to those earning less than benefits.
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© 2020 The Canadian Press