Fourth wave of COVID-19 now underway in Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam says


A fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic – driven by the Delta variant – is now underway in Canada, the country’s top doctor said on Thursday.

Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, told reporters at a news conference that projections from a few weeks ago have now come to fruition.

“A fourth wave is underway in Canada,” she said in part, adding the country has 13,000 active cases, which is more than double from two weeks ago.

Click to play video: 'Focusing on Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine hesitant'

Focusing on Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine hesitant

Focusing on Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine hesitant

On average, more than 1,500 new cases are being reported daily, with the majority of them reported in the 20-to-39-year-old age group, she said.

Story continues below advertisement

“After several months of declining severity trends, we’re now seeing early signs of increases in severe illness following the recent increase in cases,” Tam said. “On average, 511 people with COVID-19 are being treated in the hospitals each day, an increase of 12 per cent compared to last week.”

Tam added 206 people are in ICUs across Canada, which has levelled off.

The number of deaths related to COVID-19 remains low, with the country averaging about seven deaths a day.

“While the Delta variant is more contagious, a complete two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine still provides substantial protection,” Tam said. “The vast majority of cases and hospitalizations are in those not fully vaccinated.”

To date, close to 82 per cent of Canadians are partially vaccinated, while 71 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Story continues below advertisement

Tam called on Canadians who have yet to get vaccinated to do so.

“Coverage is not even across age groups. In particular, during this last stretch to increase vaccine uptake across all age groups, we need to build up momentum to increase coverage among young adults, the age group where most transmission is occurring,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Dr. Tam addresses slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine rates among young adults'

Dr. Tam addresses slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine rates among young adults

Dr. Tam addresses slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine rates among young adults – Jul 8, 2021

“This is could help reduce the size of the fourth wave in the fall and winter, and help limit its impact on our health-care system”

Read more:
Do Canadians need booster vaccines? Experts echo WHO’s call for pause

Tam added health officials are working with experts across Canada to monitor emerging evidence on the potential need for booster shots on certain populations, like the immunocompromised.

Story continues below advertisement

“For now, our top priority remains ensuring as many people in Canada who are eligible are vaccinated,” she said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.