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Canada is poised for several “intense” weeks of COVID-19 activity as Omicron will continue to generate record infections and hospitalizations, according to new federal data.

Projections, made by Canadian health officials on Friday, indicate that the wave of Omicron could peak at 170,000 cases per day this month, although officials say the figures are estimates of the “actual number of cases dailies” that could arise due to testing restrictions limiting reported cases.

Meanwhile, officials predict new hospital admissions could peak at 2,000 a day later this month.

“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 critical functions of society. “

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Across Canada, more than 37,500 new infections are being reported daily, though that number is likely underestimated due to testing restrictions, Tam said. The number of hospitalizations gives a clearer picture of the impact of the virus on the population, she added.

Regarding hospitalizations, Tam said, while evidence shows that Omicron’s risk of hospitalization is lower than Delta’s, the sheer volume of infections leads to an increase in serious illness trends globally. national.

While infections are rising across all age groups, those aged 20 to 39 have seen the most infections in recent weeks, Tam said.

Additionally, unvaccinated people are 19 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.

Tam said next week will be “quite important” to see if Canada hits its Omicron peak.

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“It is entirely possible in the next few days that we will see this spike at least in cases,” she said, adding that hospitalizations could continue to rise sharply and then fall rapidly.

“We all have to be careful about commenting on this until we have seen more information. “

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.

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 curve is flattening or has yet to peak.

Quebec is lifting its controversial 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on Monday because researchers believe the latest wave of the pandemic is peaking.

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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.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Canadians with symptoms after Dec. 20 should assume Omicron infection, says Tam'

COVID-19: Canadians with symptoms after Dec. 20 should assume Omicron infection, says Tam

COVID-19: Canadians with symptoms after Dec. 20 should assume Omicron infection, says Tam

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.

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Tam continued to urge Canadians to get their COVID-19 shots and booster shots once eligible.

“We must continue our efforts to increase vaccination coverage to improve protection for everyone we can,” she said.

In its last modeling update in December 2021, government officials predicted a resurgence of COVID-19 in Canada led by Omicron.

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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