Theresa Tam explains reason for “cautious optimism” as epidemic growth rate slows

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Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, seen here on April 15, 2020, said she was citing data at the national level, which means a composite of many epidemics across the country.

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

Physical distancing measures are helping to slow the pandemic, but now is not the time to loosen the restrictions, says chief public health officer Theresa Tam.

For weeks, Canadians adopted tough measures to stop the spread of COVID-19; Dr. Tam said officials are “watching” how these efforts affect the epidemic curve.

“At this point, we don’t have all the answers, but there is reason for cautious optimism from our epidemiological data,” she told reporters gathered for the daily pandemic briefing on Wednesday.

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“At the end of March, when the growth rate was the fastest, we saw the number of cases double every three days. In recent days, we have observed a doubling time of more than 10 days. This means that the epidemic is slowing down. “

Dr Tam explained that she was citing data at the national level, which means a composite of many epidemics across the country. “What I can tell you is that our daily test rates have not gone down. … They continue to be supported or improved, “she said.

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She warned, however, that while everyone hopes to sprint to the finish, preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a marathon, and that “there is no reward for quitting early.”

“To use another analogy, coming down from this epidemic curve will be like going down a mountain in the dark – we must not rush or abandon our safety measures, otherwise the fall will be hard and unforgiving. “

She stressed the highly contagious nature of the virus, saying that a few cases can multiply quickly, which would result in a sharply increasing curve. The

And even if she believes that physical distancing measures work, she made it clear that she did not say that Canada had reached its peak in the number of cases.

“We still have many challenges ahead, including managing epidemics in long-term care facilities, so I think the rate of growth in the epidemic has certainly slowed down. The main message for all Canadians is to keep going. “

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Earlier in his daily update outside of Rideau Cottage, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, everyone will have to stay alert.

“Once we see this first wave crossing Canada without having overwhelmed our health care system and our health care workers as we hope, we will be able to examine very carefully how, with extraordinary vigilance and very fast response times Quick to any future resurgence of the virus, we can carefully re-engage in certain sectors of our economy by relaxing the restrictions. But we are not there yet, “he said.

Canada must go through the first wave of cases to find out that the country has the capacity “to eradicate and limit any future outbreaks as we go along,” he added, which means better capacity to test and continuous vigilance.

“We are still a few, a few weeks away, but we are thinking about what it looks like and what type of technology and medical solutions will be needed.”

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says that before life returns to normal, authorities must be able to detect and eliminate new COVID-19 outbreaks. The Canadian Press

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