Canada (COVID-19): Outbreak update

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Current situation

Global

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) assessed COVID-19 as a pandemic.

This assessment by the WHO is not unexpected. Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change the WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by COVID-19 and it does not change what the WHO is doing. It also does not change what countries around the world should do. For that reason, it does not change the approach we are taking in Canada.

Canada’s public health system is prepared. Since the outset, the Public Health Agency of Canada – along with public health authorities at all levels of government across the country – have been working together to ensure that our preparedness and response measures are appropriate and adaptable, based on the latest science and the evolving situation.

Aside from Canada, other countries and regions are reporting cases.

Risk to Canadians

There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:

  • aged 65 and over
  • with compromised immune systems
  • with underlying medical conditions

There are also increased health risks for Canadian travellers abroad. Because of these risks, the Government of Canada advises you to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. This includes cruise ships.

It is important for all travellers to:

  • self-isolate for 14 days after returning from travel outside of Canada
    • some provinces and territories may have specific recommendations for certain groups such as health care workers
  • monitor your health for symptoms such as for fever, cough or difficulty breathing
  • wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand

We continue to reassess the public health risk, based on the best available evidence as the situation evolves.

Do you think you might have COVID-19? Use our self-assessment tool to find out what to do.

How Canada is monitoring COVID-19

The health and safety of all Canadians is our top priority.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provinces, territories and international partners, including the World Health Organization, to actively monitor the situation. Global efforts are focused on containment of the outbreak and the prevention of further spread.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer of Canada is in close contact with provincial and territorial Chief Medical Officers of Health to ensure that any cases of COVID-19 occurring in Canada continue to be rapidly identified and managed in order to protect the health of Canadians.

Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory is performing diagnostic testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. The laboratory is working in close collaboration with provincial and territorial public health laboratories, which are now able to test for COVID-19. A summary of people tested in Canada is available and updated each week day.

National Microbiology Laboratory’s summary of people tested in Canada as of March 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm EDT
Total number of patients tested in Canada Total positive Total negative
88,883 1,176 77,383

This testing summary represents information collected by the laboratory and not the total reported cases in Canada. The remainder of tests not reported here are still being resolved.

Should there be any differences with the national case count compared with testing numbers reported by provincial and territorial public health officials, provincial data should be considered the most up-to-date.

For more information, visit Canada’s response page.