As COVID-19 cases spike, Canada’s top doctor fears an increase in the number of hospitalizations and deaths

Ontario and Saskatchewan reported single-day highs in COVID cases on Saturday

On a day when two provinces recorded single-day highs for COVID-19 cases, Canada’s top physician laid out a grim forecast of the toll the virus may take in the coming weeks.

Dr. Theresa Tam is concerned there will be a rise in hospitalizations and deaths.

The number of active COVID-19 cases rose 16 per cent week over week, according to numbers from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Tam said the spike has left about 1,010 patients being treated in hospital each day over the past week, and 20 per cent of whom are in intensive care.

She said the critical health consequences as a result of the spike have yet to appear.

“As hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts associated with the ongoing increase in COVID-19 disease activity,” Tam said in a written statement.

“As well, influenza and respiratory infections typically increase during fall and winter, placing increased demands on hospitals. This is why it is so important for people of all ages to maintain public health practices that keep respiratory infection rates low.”

Ontario reported 978 new cases of the virus on Saturday, a new single-day high, and there were six more deaths.

Saskatchewan also reported a single-day high for cases on Saturday.

There continues to be alarming spikes in Alberta and Manitoba.

Premier Doug Ford announced on Friday health officials would review the situation in Halton and Durham, the only two places in the GTA that remain in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan.

There has been pushback. Politicians, including some from the Premier’s own party, published a letter on Saturday pleading for an exemption from stricter public health measures.