Minister of Health Patty Hajdu looks on as Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa. Officials are releasing new modelling today on COVID-19 cases. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
Federal health officials will present new modelling today that outlines best- and worst-case scenarios for how COVID-19 cases could rise and fall across Canada.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Tam and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, will be joined by Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand for a news conference in Ottawa at noon.
CBC News will carry it live.
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The last modelling figures were released on Aug. 14. At that time, Canada’s top doctors said they were striving for a best-case scenario but preparing for the worst: a so-called “fall peak” of COVID-19 cases across Canada that threatens to overwhelm the public health-care system.
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) officials said they were aiming for a “slow burn” scenario, in which the number of cases remains low to ensure the public health-care system can deal with the influx of patients.
But officials were also planning for a “reasonable worst-case scenario,” where a fall spike in infections is followed by ongoing peaks and valleys that put excessive demands on the health system.
The fall rise in cases coincides with the flu and cold season, potentially putting added strains on hospitals and other health resources.
Health-care workers have already been working on the front lines for several months and are now bracing for a possible spike in hospitalizations, prompting concerns about potential burnout.