The Omicron variant is increasingly responsible for rapidly rising case counts in Canada, Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam said Wednesday.
In a statement released earlier today, Dr. Tam, said with over 2,360 confirmed Omicron cases to date, this new variant is now predominating in several locations across Canada.
Dr. Tam further added that compared to a national average of over 5,000 new cases being reported daily by the end of last week, there were over 11,300 new cases yesterday alone.
Modelling shows that by the beginning of January, we could have a very high number of cases, which underscores the need to act urgently to reduce the acceleration, she added.
“At the moment, severe illness trends are increasing in the most heavily impacted provinces, which has begun to shift the national trend. Over the past week, on average over 1,500 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day, with close to 460 in intensive care units and 17 deaths were reported daily,” Dr. Tam said, adding that although the current trends may be a lagging impact of increased Delta activity in the preceding weeks, rapid acceleration of Omicron activity is expected to further impact these trends as well, even if Omicron turns out to be less severe.
Urging all Canadians to do what they can to help mitigate the spread of the virus, Dr. Tam said the situation is not the same everywhere, but the new variant spreads extremely quickly and the situation can rapidly get out of hand anywhere.
Emphasizing on importance of vaccinations, Dr. Tam, said over 7 million eligible Canadians need a first or second dose of their primary series, and many more are eligible to get a booster dose to help restore protection that may have waned since their second dose.
She also added that the Booster doses of either Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines should be prioritised for certain groups, such as healthcare workers and those at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and people with high risk medical conditions.