Reopening pains for Canada: balancing social distancing and getting businesses going again
Canada could see coronavirus cases rise as much as 15 per cent by the middle of the month, though cases are receding for all age groups, new modeling shows.
COVID-19 cases could rise to between 97,990 and 107,454 cases by June 15, according to data from the Public Health Agency of Canada released on Thursday. Current cases of 93,441 are not far from the lower band but 15 per cent away from the upper band. Deaths are seen at between 7,700 to 9,400, up from 7,543 now.
People aged 20 to 59 have accounted for the bulk of cases in the country which peaked in mid-April at about 500 cases a day. New cases for all age groups are now below about 50 per day, including those over the age of 80, which have accounted for more than 70 per cent of the country’s virus deaths.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said she supported taking regional considerations into account when engineering the economy’s reopening, which falls under the provinces’ control.
“It doesn’t take very long for an outbreak to gain some steam,” said Canada’s health czar at a technical briefing in Ottawa. “I think those are the kinds of considerations that need to be made at the local public health unit.”
Smaller cities such as Ottawa have complained of having to follow the same strict provincial guidelines set for Toronto, which along with Montreal, has seen the highest spikes in cases, according to the government data.
“I think models show it doesn’t really matter where you are, if you aren’t really careful about restarting the social and work contacts you might expect to get a resurgence,” Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told reporters.
The country’s worst outbreak thus far was at a Cargill Inc. meat-processing plant in Alberta with 1,560 cases among workers.