Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Monday October 5, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Health officials ‘steering in uncertain waters’ in tackling 2nd wave of COVID-19: Tam

New COVID-19 case numbers continue to surge in several parts of the country

Canada’s top public health officer says the complexities of the current wave of COVID-19 are spurring regions with rising cases to adopt different measures as they seek to turn the tide of the pandemic.

Dr. Theresa Tam says public health officials in each area are trying to target their response to local epidemiology and circumstances, but are “steering in uncertain waters.”

She says no one knows exactly what is going to work, which is creating a “grey zone” involving a variety of different measures.

But Tam says public co-operation is key and people should know to stick to basic strategies such as handwashing, physical distancing and wearing masks.

Tam’s suggestions come as Quebec announced more stringent rules than Ontario when it comes to mask-wearing for students in hard-hit areas, and days after Toronto announced it would scale back contact tracing due to an unsustainable case load.

Quebec says it is making mask-wearing mandatory inside high schools in regions at the highest COVID-19 alert level as well as outside on school grounds, at least until Oct. 28.

The affected regions include the Montreal and Quebec City areas.

READ MORE: Quebec to make masks mandatory in high school classrooms in highest COVID alert areas

Ontario, by comparison, only requires students to wear masks indoors.

New COVID-19 case numbers continue to surge in several parts of the country, particularly in Quebec and Ontario, which account for more than 80 per cent of the country’s total cases.

Quebec reported 1,191 new COVID-19 cases today, the highest single-day total since the beginning of the pandemic, and its fourth straight day with more than 1,000 new diagnoses.

Ontario, meanwhile, is reporting 615 new cases of COVID-19 today, and five new deaths due to the virus.

READ MORE: Canada’s top doctor gives tips for COVID-safe Thanksgiving amid high daily cases

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