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COVID-19: Public health measures working, reason for optimism in fight against fourth wave, Tam says

'The curve is just bending,' Tam said Friday, emphasizing how basic measures, like masking, should remain in place to avoid another surge in the winter 

OTTAWA — Canada's chief public health officer has shot a dose of optimism into the country's fight against the fourth wave of COVID-19. 

Dr. Theresa Tam said the efforts made to slow the spread where the virus is surging appear to be working. 

She said hard lessons must be learned about the risks of removing public health measures too soon, particularly in areas where not enough people have been vaccinated. 

"The curve is just bending," Tam told a briefing Friday. She also emphasized how basic measures, like masking, should remain in place to avoid another surge in the winter. 

Tam said it's promising that more than 80 per cent of Canadians eligible to receive a shot are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, however, there are still some six million eligible Canadians who are not properly immunized.

She cautioned that people should follow public health measures heading into the Thanksgiving weekend. 

Specifically, she advised people to restrict indoor Thanksgiving gatherings to those who are fully vaccinated and hosts should make efforts to open windows to improve ventilation. 

Family members or friends who have added health concerns might want to still wear a mask, Tam added. 

For those who are not fully vaccinated, Tam recommends gatherings be kept to household members only and ideally take place outdoors. 

Both she and Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, acknowledged asking guests their vaccination status could prove difficult. 

The health agency today released its latest modelling for the pandemic which shows it saw an average of 3,700 new cases reported daily across the country this week, far fewer than initially projected.  

Tam says nationally, this is also the first time since July where it does not appear the pandemic is in a growth pattern. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2021.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press