Newly released short-term forecasting of the COVID-19 pandemic indicates Canada could see between 106,015 and 111,260 cases by Jul. 17. Additionally, up to 8,900 deaths (approximately 200 more than today) could occur by the same date.
Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, indicated Ontario and Quebec have made up more than 80 per cent of cases in the country to date.
Looking at the number of cases per 100,000 people across Canada, Ontario and Quebec are still seeing the most, with a significant number of cases identified in northern Saskatchewan, relative to their population size.
Hotspots for COVID-19 cases include Toronto and Montreal, both having large populations and many cases linked to community transmission. Alberta and Saskatchewan have also seen a high number of cases, linked to localized outbreaks.
Canada's deputy chief public health officer said there has been a “steady decline” in COVID-19 cases since the peak in late April.
“We have been able to impact the pandemic, control transmission nationally and benign the process of entering the next phase of monitoring and preventing a resurgence,” Dr. Njoo said. “I think overall, we’ve done an excellent job.”
The effective reproduction number in Canada, how many people have been infected by each new case, has fluctuated above one recently, but remained fairly steady below one for the course of the last 10 weeks. Dr. Njoo indicated this number needs to consistently remain below one to indicate a slowdown of spread.
He added that as the case numbers continues to decrease, it is “likely” the effective reproduction number will fluctuate rapidly.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Canada’s most elderly has significantly declined since April. However, the decline has been particularly slow in 20 to 39 year-olds since late May.
Canada's deputy chief public health officer said contact tracing is an important component of preventing the spread of COVID-19, indicating the sooner cases can be identified and isolated, the fewer people they may infect.
The proportion of unknown sources of infection continues to decrease in Canada, which will assist in preventing a surge in infections.
Although Canada is “down the right side of the first peak,” Dr. Njoo said it continues to be important for people across the country to remain vigilant with existing public health measures, particularly while a vaccine is not available. He said if Canada relaxes measures “too much or too soon” the country will see a rapid rebound in COVID-19 cases.