9:48 p.m. ET, September 21, 2020
Covid-19 cases spike in Canada with authorities stepping up powers to police large gatherings
People wait in line for a Covid-19 test center in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, on September 21.
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star/Getty Images
Canadian health officials across the country have pleaded with the public to stay home, stick to your bubble and mask up, as daily positive cases continue to climb to levels not seen since May.
Officials in the province of Quebec and in the country’s capital, Ottawa, have declared that a second wave has already taken hold in their cities and communities.
Canada’s seven-day average is now just under 1,000 cases per day according to Johns Hopkins University and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“I’m telling you that right now the curve is not the way it was in the spring but it’s still pretty bad and I think that this is the beginning of a second wave. If we don’t do something it’s going to go up even more and I’m telling you that will not be fun,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec director of public health, during a news conference in Quebec City Monday.
What's behind the spike? Public health experts say Canadians are having too many close, social contacts between family and friends and young people are gathering in groups that are too large to contain the spread. The spike in cases comes two weeks after the Labor Day holiday and as a majority of Canadian children return to in-person learning in schools.
Young are getting sick: Canadian government statistics show that about two thirds of new, positive cases of Covid-19 are detected in people under the age of 40.
Restrictions to be enforced: In cities like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, city officials, bylaw officers and police say they are stepping up enforcement of strict protocols that limit indoor, private gatherings to six or 10. In Ontario the minimum fine for breaking the rules is $7,500.
In British Columbia, the spike in cases is being described as a resurgence and public health officials say they would not yet depict the spike in cases as a second wave.
Officials say hospitalizations have crept up but are stable and add they will wait for more data before deciding if or when to bring in more closures or restrictions.