Coronavirus: Canadians should expect weeks or months of social distancing, Trudeau says
Some provinces and health officials saw glimmers of hope in the country’s COVID-19 numbers on Monday, even as the prime minister warned that Canadians shouldn’t expect life to return to normal any time soon.
Speaking in Ottawa, Justin Trudeau said officials will have a better idea of how long the crisis will last once models and predictions are developed, but success will depend on how fully Canadians practise distancing habits.
“To stay at home, to continue this period of isolation and distance is the best way to get out as quickly as possible, but certainly it will be a case of several weeks, perhaps several months,” the prime minister said in his daily update from Ottawa.
New infections and deaths continued to be reported across the country Monday, with 16,666 total cases and 323 deaths reported by the evening.
Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s top public health officer, said she was especially concerned with recent outbreaks in hospitals and long-term care homes, which have been reported in several provinces.
Among the worst of those outbreaks is the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., where three more residents died on Sunday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths at the 65-bed facility to 26.
Tam said that while older people are at a higher risk for complications, people in their 20s have also died, and nobody should consider themselves immune.
But Tam also said there was reason to be optimistic that distancing efforts were working.
She said the case of British Columbia, which has seen its number of new cases decline in the past week, was a reason to believe that collective action could work to slow the pandemic.