Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Big Rig Brewery amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, June 26, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Trudeau urges caution as COVID-19 ‘hotspots’ linger in Toronto and Montreal

Despite some notable progress, COVID-19 remains a serious threat in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday as federal health officials released new pandemic modelling.

Speaking during his regular pandemic briefing in Ottawa, Trudeau said that “after a very challenging spring, things are continuing to move in the right direction.”

“We still have some hotspots in some parts of the country, but nationally, the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is declining over time. And that’s because Canadians are doing their part,” Trudeau said.

“Though, while we’re on the right track, the fight against COVID-19 is not over yet. As we start to reopen parts of the economy we must continue to follow local public health guidelines to keep each other safe.”

Trudeau’s comments came as federal health officials forecasted that as of July 12 the country could see between 103,940 and 108,130 cases, and between 8,545 and 8,865 deaths.

As of Monday morning, 103,818 Canadians had been diagnosed with COVID-19, of which 64 per cent have recovered, while there have been 8,566 deaths.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said the two main hotspots for the infection in Canada remain the country’s two largest metropolitan areas: Toronto and Montreal.

The modelling also shows that while there has been a steep decline in transmission among older age groups, there has been a relative increase in Canadians aged 20-39 contracting COVID-19 since late May, officials said.

“As the epidemic has slowed the incident rate has steadily declined in all age groups. But the decline has been relatively slow in younger age groups,” Tam said. “Individuals under the age of 40 now account for a greater proportion of total cases in recent weeks.”

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