OTTAWA (Reuters) - A recent spike in coronavirus cases in Canada is worrying and can be linked to groups of young people gathering in bars and nightclubs and at parties, a top medical official said on Friday.
“When we examine recent trends in case reporting, there is some cause for concern. After a period of steady decline, daily case counts have started to rise,” Howard Njoo, the deputy chief public health officer, told a briefing.
The daily case count rose to an average of 350 over the last week up from 300 a day earlier in July, Njoo said. More than 430 cases were reported on Thursday.
“This coincides with increasing reports of individuals contracting COVID-19 at parties, nightclubs and bars as well as increasing rates of transmission among young Canadians,” Njoo said.
“Singing, mingling and dancing in close contact with others in closed spaces and crowded places is not the way to party this summer. These are ideal conditions for the spread of COVID-19.”
Canada has reported 109,266 total cases and 8,827 deaths, far fewer than the United States.
Officials and experts this week said they saw signs of a new spike as the 10 provinces lifted social and economic restrictions imposed in March to fight the outbreak.
“Our relative success is fragile. ... There is always a bit of a fatigue factor and certainly I think that’s come into play a bit now, especially with the warmer weather,” Njoo said.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler