Canada’s top doctor has announced the country is through the worst of the Omicron COVID-19 wave after months of gradually tightening health restrictions.
Gradually, the federal government is moving away from crisis management.
“We are hopeful we are approaching a period of reduced transmission, allowing Canadians a chance to regain a sense of normalcy,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer, said Friday.
She pointed to lowering cases and wastewater surveillance to prove her conclusion.
It’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still circulating rapidly, and the healthcare system remains under enormous pressure. There’s always the possibility of another resurgence, so Tam urged Canadians to avoid crowded places if possible and wear masks when necessary.
Similarly, the true number of Omicron infections nation-wide has been much wider than reported, so the figures should be taken with a grain of salt.
“While a resurgence of cases is not unexpected given the characteristics of the Omicron variant, the good news is that current levels of immunity in the Canadian population are expected to reduce the impact of the Omicron infections going forward,” she said.
1/6 #COVID19 key concerns: today’s presentation of #PHAC updated #epidemiology & modelling analysis, shows while a resurgence in cases could still occur with the easing of public health measures, there is room for optimism. https://t.co/6GLyFPoKMh
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) February 18, 2022
Tam also said removing some of the restrictive public health managers will actually allow them to do a better job of managing the pandemic.
She presented data showing there could be a slight increase in cases and hospitalizations in the spring after loosening restrictions.
When even more public health orders are lifted, those numbers could spike, possibly breaking past records. However, hospitalizations probably won’t increase too drastically, since the majority of the country’s citizens are vaccinated.
“The cases might go up, but as long as that wave of hospitalizations isn’t as high, we can probably cope with that. And with that comes a better balance.”
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Saskatchewan recently experienced such a surge after loosening its restrictions on gatherings and dropping its vaccine passport program. Hospitalizations reached record-highs, though the province’s Premier said he expected them to decrease throughout the month.
Ontario saw a drop in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks as well. In response, its chief medical officer predicted vaccination and testing requirements for the workplace could be lifted by March 1, with mask mandates to be removed shortly after.
“But we also have to move forward, we have to get back to normal, we have to get our lives back to normal as well,” Premier Doug Ford told his province in a public statement.