Community spread of COVID-19 within Canada now rising, Tam says

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam participates in a press conference following the announcement by the Government of Ontario of the first presumptive confirmed case of a novel coronavirus in Canada, in Ottawa, on January 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canada's chief medical health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says overall in Canada, an equal number of Canadians who have tested positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus from travel and from transmission within their own communities.

But the trend is now turning toward community spread.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said nearly 90 per cent of cases reported to the public health agency in recent days came from spread of the virus within the community.

Tam says this is a fundamental shift in the spread of the virus in Canada.

If Canada is going to get a handle on community spread, she said self-isolation for those who have been advised to do so, social distancing and maintaining a two-metre barrier between people is essential.

Nearly 120,000 Canadians have been tested for the coronavirus, with an average of 10,000 people tested per day.