StatsCan creates new survey to determine total number of Canadians infected by COVID-19

StatsCan creates new survey to determine total number of Canadians infected by COVID-19

A new study is being undertaken by Statistics Canada in an effort to identify how many Canadians have been infected previously with virus that causes COVID-19.

A statement released by Statistics Canada said it is the first using a nationally representative sample to determine the seroprevalence — the level of a pathogen in a population, measured in blood serum — across the country on a national, provincial and territorial level.

The study involves sending test kits to 48,000 Canadians aged 1 and above across the country. The Canadian government is investing $7 million through its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CTIF) into the survey, with the objective of determining how many people had COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they had symptoms.

CTIF co-chair Catherine Hankins suggest that “earlier studies from healthy blood donors in May suggested that under one per cent of Canadians had had COVID-19, but this is likely higher now.”

“The StatCan study will involve Canadians from childhood right throughout the life course from rural as well as urban settings to provide reliable general population estimates for provinces and territories amidst a second wave,” Hankins explained.

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam suggested the new study would provide a unique opportunity, one that provides a reliable estimate of how many COVID-19 cases Canada has had.

“This study will give us important information on how much transmission there has been, in which parts of the country, and among which populations. We will then use this information, with the provinces and territories, to further inform the public health response to COVID-19 across Canada,” Dr. Tam said, outlining the plan for the study.