Canada is poised for several “intense” weeks of COVID-19 activity as Omicron will continue to drive record infections and hospitalizations, according to new federal data.
Projections, made by Canadian health officials on Friday, indicate the wave of Omicron could peak at 170,000 cases per day this month, although officials say the projections are likely estimates of the “true number of daily cases” that could occur as testing restrictions have limited the number of reported cases.
Meanwhile, officials predict hospitalizations could peak at 2,000 a day later this month if Omicron is found to have a hospitalization rate 40% higher than the Delta variant. If Omicron has the same hospitalization rate as Delta, daily hospitalizations could peak at 5,000 per day.
“While Canada may experience a pronounced peak and decline in cases over the next few weeks, given that disease activity far exceeds previous peaks, even the decline in this curve will be substantial,” the statement said. Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.
“With several weeks of very intense activity expected, we must do our best now to limit the size and impact of the Omicron surge in order to maintain the health system and essential functions of society.”
As of Jan. 10, 6,926 hospital beds nationwide were occupied by COVID-19 patients, up from 4,113 on Jan. 3, the government reports.
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Across Canada, new infections and related hospitalizations remain at or near record highs.
Meanwhile, some governments are easing pandemic restrictions while others are tightening them based on their perception that the COVID-19 curve is flattening or has yet to peak.
On Monday, Quebec lifted its controversial 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew because researchers believe the latest wave of the pandemic is peaking.
Additionally, Nunavut said its strict measures implemented just before Christmas were so effective that it is rolling back travel restrictions on Monday, allowing businesses to reopen and schools to resume in-person learning on Jan. 24.
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However, in New Brunswick, new restrictions are now in effect, limiting residents to a single-household bubble. Gyms, entertainment venues and indoor dining in restaurants have been closed.
In nearby Prince Edward Island, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Heather Morrison says the “worst of this wave” is yet to come. Current restrictions that include business capacity limits and remote learning for students will be extended.
As Canada rides through the Omicron wave, vaccination against the disease continues.
As of January 1, 87% of Canadians aged 12 and older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of the total population, that’s 77%, according to the data.
In its last modeling update in December 2021, government officials predicted a resurgence of COVID-19 in Canada driven by the Omicron variant.
He said at the time that if infections continued to rise the way they were and Omicron took hold, the variant could overtake Delta and lead to infections of up to 26,600 per day by mid-January. .
Omicron’s impact on Canadian society has been significant, as several governments have had to reimpose restrictions and limit testing capacity to cope with the onslaught of cases and hospitalizations.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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