Omicron becomes Ontario's "most dominant COVID-19 variant"

Dec 16 2021, 5:03 pm

Omicron has become the most dominant variant of COVID-19 in Ontario, says the province’s Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Table.

As of Thursday, 53% of all COVID-19 cases in Ontario are Omicron-related.

Co-chair of the Science Advisory Council Dr. Adalsteinn Brown announced on December 16 that the Omicron variant — which transmits very quickly and can lead to severe disease — could also cause ICUs to reach “unsustainable levels” as soon as early January.

The Table also noted that vaccines are less effective against the variant, but boosters can help increase protection.

Ontarian’s over the age of 18 will be able to book booster shot appointments across starting Monday, December 20.

The subsequent press release issued by the Science Table also noted that increased vaccination will not be sufficient in slowing down the wave of infections cause by Omicron.

“Circuit breakers with strong additional public health measures (at least 50% fewer contacts) and strong booster campaigns (250,000 per day) could blunt the Omicron wave,” it noted. “High-quality masks, physical distancing indoors, improved ventilation, and increased access to rapid testing can help buy time for boosters to take effect and keep schools open.”

The following graph released by the Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Table compares the rate of infections caused by both Omicron and Delta variants in Ontario. Omicron cases spiked sharply beginning December.

Omicron

Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Table

On Thursday morning, the province reported over 2,400 new COVID-19 cases and nine new deaths. Minister of Health Dr. Christine Elliott tweeted that there are 165 patients in the ICU, nearly all of whom are not fully vaccinated.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore will be providing an update on COVID-19 in the province at 3 pm on Thursday.

Imaan SheikhImaan Sheikh

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