Top doctor warns that severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases


Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the national death toll toward 10,000.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the number of Canadians experiencing severe illness is on the rise amid a spike in cases.

She says an average of 1,010 patients with COVID-19 were being treated in hospital each day over the past week, about 20 per cent of whom were in intensive care units.

Average daily deaths associated with the disease reached 23 over the past seven days.

However, Tam says the most critical health impacts associated with the uptick have yet to emerge, as hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag behind viral spread.

Tam's comments came the same day Ontario reported a new single-day high of 978 new coronavirus cases, along with six more deaths, pushing the national death toll to 9,920.

Quebec reported that daily cases again topped 1,000, with 26 deaths and 549 patients now in hospital, 17 per cent of whom were in intensive care.

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