Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on March 26. An uptick in new cases of COVID-19 in Canada is sparking concerns about a second wave, which some experts say is inevitable, based on the history of similar infectious diseases, such as SARS, caused by a virus that is genetically related to the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Canada’s health chief says she’s ‘concerned’ about spike in COVID cases

Canada’s chief public officer says she is concerned about a steady increase of COVID-19 cases across the country.

In a statement released Monday, Dr. Theresa Tam said the average daily number of people testing positive last week was 545.

That was a 25 per cent increase over the previous week, which saw a daily average of 435, and 390 a week before that.

The average daily case count, she said, increased by 40 per cent over the same period.

Canada’s top health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, says Canadians need to be even more vigilant about following public health guidance as the fall weather shifts activities indoors. Her warning came as the number of cases last week jumped by 25 per cent over the week before. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

“This is a concern and a reminder that we all need to maintain public health measures to keep COVID-19 on the slow-burn path that we need,” she said.

“As we enter the fall, Canadians will need to be even more vigilant about following public health guidance, particularly as the cold weather shifts activities indoors,” Tam said in the statement, issued in lieu of an in-person update to the media because of the Labour Day holiday.

“In addition to the colder weather, the fall brings holidays and traditional family gatherings for many Canadians. While I know we are all eager to gather with our extended family and friends for the holidays, indoor gatherings may not be right for every Canadian or every family.” 

She said people need to assess both their personal risk if they contract COVID-19, and the risk of severe illness in people in their household or their COVID-19 bubble.

Tam warned last week that Canada could be in for a major fall spike in COVID-19 cases if testing, contact tracing, and personal protection measures don’t strengthen with schools and businesses reopening.

WATCH: Dr. Theresa Tam warns COVID-19 cases could spike in the fall:

Anyone who has symptoms, even mild ones, should stay home and get tested, Tam said.

Overall, in the last week, the statement said, 3,955 people tested positive across Canada, and 28 people died of COVID-19.

That compares to 3,044 positive tests and 44 deaths in the week prior.

New figures released early today show there have now been 132,136 cases of COVID-19 reported in Canada, including 9,146 deaths. 

Tam said Monday 88.2 per cent of people have now recovered.  

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8, 2020: There are 132,136 confirmed cases in Canada. — Quebec: 63,713 confirmed (including 5,770 deaths, 55,960 resolved) — Ontario: 43,161 confirmed (including 2,813 deaths, 38,958 resolved) — Alberta: 14,474 confirmed (including 242 deaths, 12,799 resolved) — British Columbia: 6,162 confirmed (including 211 deaths, 4,706 resolved) — Saskatchewan: 1,662 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,580 resolved) — Manitoba: 1,338 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 910 resolved) — Nova Scotia: 1,085 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,015 resolved) — Newfoundland and Labrador: 269 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 265 resolved) — New Brunswick: 192 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 186 resolved) — Prince Edward Island: 47 confirmed (including 44 resolved) — Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved) — Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) — Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved) — Nunavut: No confirmed cases — Total: 132,136 (0 presumptive, 132,136 confirmed including 9,146 deaths, 116,456 resolved) (The Canadian Press)

Any event people want to attend should be assessed to determine what COVID-19 precautions are in place and if the event can allow for social distancing or the use of masks, she added.

“Taking these precautions will provide layers of protection to keep you and those you care about safe, while helping to keep COVID-19 on the slow burn in Canada,” she said.

“Importantly, all of these efforts will help to support the front-line workers we need and value so much, and recognize on this Labour Day.”

With files from CBC News, The Canadian Press

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