More than 50 per cent of Canada's COVID-19 cases have recovered

More than half of Canada’s COVID-19 patients have fully recovered from the virus, according to Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, marking a new milestone in the first wave of the country’s outbreak.

As of Monday afternoon, public health officials had reported 77,306 COVID-19 cases, including 5,805 deaths. More than 38,828 or 50 per cent of those patients have now recovered, according to a statement released by Dr. Theresa Tam Monday.

Tam noted that Canadian labs have tested 1,319,000 people for COVID-19 to date, with five per cent testing positive. Officials are now testing an average of 26,000 to 28,000 people daily.

The national recovery rate fits into a larger trend of provinces seeing fewer deaths and more recoveries.

Quebec, the province worst hit by the pandemic, reported the fewest deaths since April 12. However, case numbers continue to rise, with officials recording a one-day increase of 707 cases on Monday.

Experts have asserted since the start of the pandemic that deaths would continue to spike even as the curve flattened and infection rates slowed. While some provinces have seen the curve begin to flatten in recent weeks, infection rates have only slightly slowed in Ontario and Quebec, which are often recording more than 400 and 700 new cases daily, respectively.

Although Tam highlighted the country’s positive recovery rate, the country’s top doctor says it’s essential that Canadians continue to follow best practices, including physical distancing measures, in order to continue flattening the curve.

“I recognize this ongoing vigilance has been challenging,” Tam said in a statement in lieu of a daily in-person update to the media.

“Our actions and perseverance are so important to protect the progress we've made and give us the best chance of staying steady on our current downward trajectory.”

Experts say the number of recovered cases helps put the scale of the Canadian outbreak into context, while cautioning that one metric doesn’t tell the whole story.

“I think we should also be looking at other metrics that paint a picture that Canada's doing okay -- not amazing, not perfect -- but pretty good. And that includes the number of new cases per day that we’re seeing,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist, told CTVNews.ca by phone Monday.

“We should also acknowledge that about 5,700 people did not recover… it’s a small percentage, but it’s still a significant proportion.”

Bogoch notes that it’s difficult to use Canada’s recovery rate as a means of comparison for how we are faring compared to other countries experiencing outbreaks, noting that recovery is not measured the same in every jurisdiction -- including within Canada.

“In some places, you used to have two negative swabs in the nose to say you were recovered. Some people say it’s 14 days from the onset of symptoms… some say it’s 10 days,” he explained.

CTVNews.ca has contacted Public Health Canada for details on the criteria for deeming a COVID-19 case recovered and whether the provinces follow the same guidelines to make that declaration.

Overall, Bogoch said the current epidemiological summary points towards improvement for Canada’s outbreak, but notes it’s “not time to pat ourselves on the back” yet.

“Canada is faring very well relative to the rest of the world. That doesn't mean we're perfect,” he said.

“It's not time to pat ourselves on the back and say job well done, but we really are doing better than most others in the world.”

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