TORONTO — As Canadians celebrate a toned-down Canada Day this year, the country’s top doctor is reminding everyone to continue to follow COVID-19 health guidelines she’s observing while enjoying the holiday.
While she’s spending some of the day at work, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam also hoped to celebrate Canada’s birthday by going outside for a run.
“The thing I love about Canada, when I arrived in Canada, was the great, amazing, and epic outdoors,” she told CTV News Channel on Wednesday. “I’m a runner so I’m going to try and do a little bit of exercise if I can and practise what I preach, really, to maintain all of that good public health advice.”
That “good public health advice” Tam is referring to includes gathering virtually, wearing a face mask whenever it’s difficult to maintain physical distance, frequent hand washing, meeting in social “bubbles,” and staying home when sick.
“Virtual is best, but certainly stay within your household or family bubble,” she said. “Boat together in your bubble, commute within your bubble, barbecue within your bubble. It’s the safest.”
With more than 27,000 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, Tam also took the opportunity to remind Canadians the coronavirus hasn’t been eradicated yet.
“Right now, overall in Canada, we have passed the peak of this first wave and we’re well on our way down the other side of the curve, but the virus is still with us and so we cannot let our guard down,” she explained. “There are hotspots around the country. It hasn’t left.”
Tam said she expects to see more outbreaks as more businesses reopen and some Canadians return to the office in the coming weeks.
“The key is to sort of jump on those cases and find those contacts really fast, do good testing, and keep those numbers down,” she said. “The best-case scenario is a series of these little bumps that we can actually manage to control across the country.”
As for how long Canadians will have to adhere to these guidelines, Tam said there’s no way to know for sure, but the only way to prevent further spread of the virus is for everyone to work together.
“I do want to wish everybody a happy and safe Canada Day, go out as safe as you can,” she said. “This is a marathon and not a sprint.”
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