As new federal data suggests Canada is exiting a “critical phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic, the easing of public health measures could still lead to a resurgence, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam said on Friday.
“As we exit the crisis phase, we can continue to rely on critical tools for prevention, early detection and response, including vaccines, testing, robust surveillance, treatment, and public health and health care infrastructure. Yes,” Tam said. Virtual COVID-19 updates.
She explained that at this point in time, there is a significant build-up of immunity in the population and that Canada has the tools to manage the pandemic going forward without restrictive public health measures.
“They may still be needed if there was a very severe form that evades vaccine immunity, for example. So we don’t want to completely reduce all of our abilities … but looking at the projections now … Should be able to return to position,” Tam said.
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While the easing of public health measures could lead to a resurgence of cases in Canada, Tam said the impact of hospitalizations is projected to be small.
According to data released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), there are two possible future scenarios for hospitalization. The first is the expectation that there will be a limited resurgence in daily cases, with daily hospitalizations more likely towards spring.
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The second is that Canada can expect a large resurgence in daily omicron cases, potentially going beyond previously reported peaks, but the peak of daily hospital admissions could be much lower.
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In the meantime, Tam said that the development of COVID-19 will continue.
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The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been continuously evolving since it first appeared in late 2019 and has undergone various mutations that can affect its virus characteristics, such as transmission efficiency and severity.
Because of the nature of the virus, Tam said new variants may emerge from existing variants, such as the ba.2 sub-lineage of Omicron, which was first detected in November last year.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have declined in Canada’s two most populous provinces in recent weeks, prompting a gradual improvement in public health measures. On Friday, the number of hospitalized patients in Ontario dropped to 1,281.
Both provinces have also started giving booster shots to youth between the ages of 12 and 17.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said earlier this week that he expects vaccination policies, such as requiring people to be vaccinated or tested regularly to continue working, as long as improvements continue. can be removed by 1 March and masks become mandatory a few weeks later. ,
Premier Doug Ford said he has been guided by science in making cautious choices when easing restrictions, and a decision around masks would be no different.
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-With files from Canadian Press
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