COVID-19 epidemiology update: Outbreaks Download page in .pdf format
Summary of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, cases following vaccination, testing and variants of concern across Canada and over time. Older versions of this report are available on the archived reports page.
Update schedule: We update this page every Monday. This page was last updated on .
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) regularly receives COVID-19 outbreak data from health authorities in the provinces and territories. This page summarizes outbreaks in Canada by setting and by size, and is updated weekly. Data may change retroactively if there are changes to:
- provincial or territorial COVID-19 testing strategies
- provincial or territorial reporting of outbreaks
- data collection methods, or
- outbreak management methods
What is an outbreak?
Outbreak definitions vary across the country, but we use a national outbreak definition for all outbreaks. An outbreak is 2 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 which are epidemiologically linked to a specific setting or location. It does not include:
- households (since household cases may not be declared or managed as an outbreak if the risk of transmission is contained)
- cases that are geographically clustered (such as in a region, city, or town) but not epidemiologically linked
- cases attributed to community transmission
In December 2021, the highly contagious Omicron variant caused a rapid increase in cases. This surge affected public health and testing capacity, which led to a change in testing strategies and limited contact tracing. This made it harder for provinces and territories to link cases. As a result, outbreaks were undercounted. The provinces and territories still consistently report cases of COVID-19 in high-priority settings. However, most no longer report cases in community settings, such as schools, recreational facilities and stores.
4 high-priority settings
- Acute care: Hospital or similar setting where patients receive short-term treatment for an injury or severe episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or during recovery from surgery. Acute care settings include:
- emergency departments
- urgent care
- transitional care
- convalescent care
- short-term inpatient rehabilitation centres
Congregate living includes:
- retirement residences
- assisted/supportive living
- group homes
- residential treatment centres
- transition centres
- student dormitories
Correctional facilities include:
- provincial jails and prisons
- federal jails and prisons
- youth correction centres
- Long-term care facilities include both public and private facilities that provide living accommodations for people who require full-time supervised care, including professional health services, personal care, and other services (meals, laundry, cleaning)
Showing outbreaks data from to .
We analyzed data for outbreaks occurring between January 03, 2021 and . You can select a narrower date range using the slider below. The data displayed on the rest of this page will change to reflect your date range.
The shaded area on the far right of Figure 1 and Figure 2 represents a period of accumulating data. This is the period of time (1 to 2 weeks) before the latest outbreaks are reported to PHAC. This delay is a result of the time required to identify cases and declare outbreaks. We update this figure as more data becomes available.
Figure 1. Weekly number of outbreaks by setting
Figure 1: Text description
Figure 2. Weekly number of outbreaks by outbreak size for
Figure 2: Text description
Between January 2, 2022 and :
- Acute care accounted for X% of outbreaks. The median outbreak size was X cases/outbreak.
- Congregate living accounted for X% of outbreaks. The median outbreak size was X cases/outbreak.
- Correctional facilities accounted for X% of outbreaks. Median outbreak size was X cases/outbreak.
- Long-term care facilities accounted for X% of outbreaks. Median outbreak size was X cases/outbreak.
Table 1. Summary statistics of COVID-19 outbreak size by setting,
|Setting||Median case count||Average case count||Number of outbreaks|
Additional COVID-19 data resources
- Date modified: