People pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

People pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Top doctor urges Canadians to plan safe holidays as new COVID cases continue to rise

Positivity rate has increased from 5.8% to 6.6%

The country’s top health officials are continuing to urge caution as new and active cases continue to rise.

As of Sunday (Nov. 22) morning, there have been more than 325,711 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, up from 291,931 a week ago. There have been 515 deaths since last Sunday (Nov. 15) morning, bringing Canada’s COVID death toll to 11,406.

According to federal government data, there are 53,907 active cases currently, compared to 48,125 a week ago. Average daily case counts have increased as well, from 4,348 from Nov. 6-12 to 4,739 from Nov. 13-19. The positivity rate rose from 5.8 per cent from Nov. 1-7 to 6.6 per cent from Nov. 8-14. The number of treated each day in hospital rose by 402 to 1,840. Of those, the number of ICU patients rose from 280 to 276 each day on average.

In her written statement, chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam asked Canadians to plan for a safe holiday season, one which will look different than ones from years prior.

“Our best protection, now and into the holiday season, is to limit errands and outings to the essentials, keep in-person social activities to our existing household and strictly and consistently maintain public health practices,” Tam said.

She recommended “online game nights and sharing special meals together virtually with people outside our household, to warmly-dressed, physically distanced walkabouts and cheering our neighbours with decorated balconies, windows and lawns.”

The latest federal totals do not include figures from today. They also do not include Saturday totals from B.C., as the province reports only on weekdays.

READ MORE: B.C. records 516 more COVID-19 cases, second day of decline


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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