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Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, on Oct. 6, 2020.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The number of daily COVID-19 cases reported in Canada increased 40 per cent in the last week compared to the previous one, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Wednesday.

Canada’s average daily count of new COVID-19 cases hit 2,052 over the last seven days, nearly 10 times the low it reached last July, Tam said in a statement.

The vast majority of new cases across Canada have been reported in Quebec and Ontario, which together account for some 80 per cent of the country’s COVID-19 infections.

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There were some positive signs, however, in the data reported Wednesday by both provinces, although a continued rise in hospitalizations remained a concern.

New cases in Quebec dropped to 900 after authorities reported more than 1,000 new daily infections for five consecutive days.

New cases in Ontario rose from 548 Tuesday to 583 Wednesday, but a large number of recoveries meant that active cases dropped by more than 100. The province also reported one new death, compared to seven on Tuesday.

Hospitalizations continued to rise in both provinces, with an increase of 12 in Quebec and three in Ontario.

Quebec reported seven additional deaths, including one that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Tam said that over the past week there has been a daily average of 644 COVID-19 cases in hospital and 18 deaths reported across the country.

She said the increasing number and variety of COVID-19 tests available in Canada is a positive development that will allow authorities to identify and isolate new cases more quickly.

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But she stressed that testing cannot replace other health measures, which she described as critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“While testing is a crucial tool in our toolbox, it is does not and cannot replace vigilant public health prevention measures,” she said.

“We must continue to consistently practice physical distancing measures: keeping two metres away from others, frequent hand washing, wearing a mask when physical distancing can’t be ensured.”

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam are pleading with Canadians to limit their turkey time only to the people you live with this year. Tam says being with friends and family can be comforting but this year it is just not safe. The Canadian Press

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