Canadian public health officials are warning residents to stay home as much as possible, saying the next few weeks will be critical to the country’s efforts to contain Covid-19.
Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that a second wave of the coronavirus was already underway in most of the country.
The national daily case counts continue to increase sharply, with an average of about 2,000 new cases every day for the past week. That’s a 40% rise in the last week alone, according to government statistics.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak started, Canada has had a total of 175,380 cases and 9,593 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Hospitalizations and deaths continue to creep upward as well, with more than 600 patients currently in hospitals in Canada with Covid-19 and an average of about 18 deaths reported daily.
More than 80% of new infections are from Ontario and Quebec, and those under 40 account for 60% of the cases.
The province of Quebec is of particular concern, with urban hotspots in Montreal and Quebec City. Dine-in restaurants and bars were closed in those cities last week as new daily cases continue to climb.
Quebec reported 1,364 new cases of the virus on Tuesday alone, the highest daily case total since the pandemic began. That prompted a blunt warning to young people in Quebec to take the virus seriously and stay home.
“The young people that are not respecting the rule, they will have an impact on the system,” Christian Dube, Quebec’s health minister, said during a press conference in Quebec City on Tuesday. “Don’t take the risk, please don’t test the hospital system.”