Canada’s third wave on course to become its worst yet as hospitalizations soar

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Covid-19 variants likely replaced original virus in many parts of Canada, health officials say


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“The end is definitely in sight, but we’re not there yet. This third wave is more serious and we have to hang on to it for a few more weeks to make sure we can flatten this curve, lower those numbers again, a chance for vaccines to take hold, ”said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a press conference in Ottawa on Friday.

The situation is most serious in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, where officials say the province is close to its “worst-case” projections for the third wave. The province was dangerously close to breaking a record one-day case increase on Friday and has already set a record this week for ICU admissions linked to Covid-19.

“We are seeing more and more young people admitted to hospital with Covid-19. So for young people: there are more contagious and more serious variants, even if you are younger you can get sick very, very quickly, ”Trudeau said.

Across the country, Canadian health officials say ICU admissions have risen by more than 20% in the last week alone, as all of Canada’s most populous provinces face a more threatening third wave. health system than the last two.

“I can understand the frustration, the anxiety, the worry that Canadians across the country are feeling when they see these numbers go up, I share that. I think we all recognize that we don’t want to be in this third wave, but here we are, ”Trudeau said.

Vaccine rollout will not slow new case growth

Although Canada broke a record this week for vaccine doses administered, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, says the vaccine rollout will not slow the rapid growth of cases, as variants more contagious are spreading across the country.

“Right now my concern is… that the ICUs are filling up, not just the hospitalizations, because there is an absolute limit to the capacity of the ICUs, not necessarily because of the equipment, but because of the people.” Tam said at Friday’s press conference.

The province of Ontario, including Canada’s most populous city, Toronto, has imposed a province-wide stay-at-home order for at least four weeks starting Thursday as the third wave threatens to overwhelm hospitals. However, the restrictions have only moderately reduced new infections, despite cities like Toronto being in some form of lockdown since late November.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has imposed the province’s third state of emergency since the start of the pandemic. Non-essential retail stores, including malls, will close in-person shopping, with only grocery stores, pharmacies and garden centers open to the public.

Restaurant dining rooms, personal care services and gymnasiums were already closed across the province as provincial officials last week closed many locations but pulled up ahead of a hold order. House.

Toronto and adjacent Peel region transferred students to virtual learning earlier this week, just ahead of the already scheduled spring break. The Ford government says its priority is to keep schools open across the province.

Outside of Canada’s Atlantic provinces, the third wave of the pandemic is straining hospitals across much of the country.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Tam highlighted the threat of variants spreading and leading to more serious infections and illnesses, especially among young Canadians.

“Although COVID-19 continues to impact people of all ages in Canada, infection rates are highest among people aged 20 to 39. Additionally, we are seeing an increase in the number of adults under the age of 60 being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals, including intensive care units, ”Tam said.

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