Recent increase in COVID-19 cases among ‘worrying’ older people, says Theresa Tam


Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam answers a question at a press conference on October 5, 2020 in Ottawa.

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

The second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in Canada is once again shifting to older populations, prompting officials to renew calls for Canadians to take action to protect those most at risk of serious illness and death from the disease.

Since the start of July, people in their twenties and thirties have consistently represented the highest proportion of new SARS-CoV-2 infections. But Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam says the recent spike in infections among the elderly is one of the troubling increases in all cases.

“We are now seeing a worrying increase in incidence among people 80 and older, who are most at risk of serious and fatal consequences,” she said in a modeling update. epidemiological last Friday.

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Dr Tam added that an increasing number of outbreaks have also been reported in long-term care and retirement facilities in recent weeks.

“Although these outbreaks involve a lower number of cases than in April and May, we know that the spread in these establishments often results in deaths,” Dr Tam said in a statement on Saturday.

In its weekly epidemiology report, the Public Health Agency of Canada noted notable increases in incidence rates in younger and older populations. From September 27 to October 3, the rate among adults aged 20 to 29 rose to 48.5 cases per 100,000, from 39.3 the previous week; among adults aged 30 to 39, it was 33.5 per 100,000, compared with 23.1.

Among those 80 and over, the rate was 26.8 per 100,000 people, up from 15.3 the previous week.

The latest data also shows an 87% increase in deaths over the same period – the first noticeable increase in deaths since early May. In the most recent week, an average of 12 deaths were reported per day, compared to seven per day in the previous week.

Of 23 deaths for which individual information was available, 97% were over 60 years old.

Amid the surge in cases among young people over the summer, experts had warned that while they typically experience milder forms of COVID-19, the biggest problem is the demographic transmission of the disease to people at higher risk.

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“The big problem with 20- to 40-year-olds who get sick is not that 20- to 40-year-olds get sick,” said Srinivas Murthy, infectious disease specialist and clinical associate professor in the Pediatrics Department at the University of Great Britain. Columbia. “It is young people between the ages of 20 and 40 who give it to their parents, their grandparents and all those who are most vulnerable around them.

Of the nearly 200 outbreaks reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada during its last reporting period, the largest proportion was in food, beverage and retail (36%), followed by care facilities long-term and retirement homes (28%) and schools and daycares (18%).

The provinces recently took steps to combat the transmission of the coronavirus in bars and restaurants. After a surge in cases over the summer, British Columbia ordered all nightclubs and banquet halls closed on September 8 and banned the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants after 10 p.m. Quebec also ordered a partial lockdown, the closure of bars and restaurants in Montreal, Quebec City and the Chaudière-Appalaches region from October 1 to 28.

And Ontario, which reached a daily record of 939 new COVID-19 cases last Friday, has ordered sweeping restrictions in hot spots in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region, banning food service and of drinks indoors in all bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

To date, more than eight million people have been tested for COVID-19 in Canada, with an average positivity rate of around 2.1 percent. Over the past week, an average of 71,665 people have been tested per day, with a positivity rate of 2.5%.

Canada reported a record 2,554 new COVID-19 cases last Friday, with the national number of cases doubling since the last epidemiological modeling update on September 22.

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