Is Canada Riding The 6th Wave Now?
According to public health data COVID-19 related hospitalizations and cases are on the rise once again across Canada which indicates the start of the sixth wave of the pandemic.
As of Monday, the seven-day average of daily lab-confirmed cases sits just above 9,843, a nearly 50 per cent jump from just two weeks prior.
Hospitalizations are up 17 per cent since last week and about 30 per cent above the number two weeks ago. Of those patients, 394 are in intensive care, a slight uptick since late March.
Estimates from the viral count in wastewater suggest about 100,000 people are now getting infected daily in Ontario, according to the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. That is a faster infection rate than at any previous time in the pandemic. The province reported 1,074 patients in hospital with COVID-19 on Wednesday, a jump of 36 per cent in a week.
According to Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam and her provincial counterparts an even more transmissible subvariant of Omicron, dubbed BA.2 is behind the current wave.
In a press conference on Tuesday Dr. Tam said unless something drastic happens like more severe outcomes or evasion of vaccines, we likely won't see harsh restrictions return. She described the current state of the pandemic in Canada a "difficult period" of transition. "Not only is the virus trying to find its way in the world and transitioning, we are transitioning from what I would hope is the acute crisis phase into the somewhat unknown, uncertain territory of virus evolution,"
Provincial officials, who have approved the lifting of nearly all public health measures have indicated that they will not reimpose the previously applied restrictions even as cases and hospitalizations surge.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said Monday the province will not bring back its mask mandate, despite public health indicators worsening. Moore said he strongly recommends people continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces, and urged residents to get their booster doses, because they are helping to keep people out of hospital when infected.
Dr. Tam had said on April 1st that Canadians should make their own decisions on how to protect themselves from the latest wave based on their personal health, as well as the setting they are in and the amount of transmission in their community. On the press conference this Tuesday she restated that she still thought mask wearing was the most prudent personal choice at this time.
She said Canadians should keep wearing face coverings and ensure vaccinations are up to date amid rising case counts and reduced public health measures: “I think the bottom line is everybody right now should still wear that mask and keep those layers of measures, no matter where you are in this country,”
In short, the most effective ways remain the same to keep yours and your loved ones safe:
- Wear your mask when indoors
- Stay up to date with your vaccination
- Keep a safe distance
Wishing all of you a safe spring!