Ontario hits record-setting 10K COVID cases in one day – WBFO

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Ontario continues to smash infection records and, along with Quebec, makes up more than 75% of the COVID-19 cases across Canada.
The number of new infections topped 10,000 for the first time on Dec. 24, falling back just under 10,000 on Sunday. The total numbers to date, including deaths and recoveries, are just under 700,000.
Ontario’s seven-day average for the number of cases recorded stands at more than 6,700 — more than double what it was a week ago.
Much of the new data is driven by the Omicron variant, but just what do those new numbers mean?
“A lot of the people who are testing positive, of course, are not sick. And this is an incredibly important message to get through,” said Dr. Martha Fulford, an infections diseases specialist at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton. “What we have right now is a very high number of positive PCR tests.  But the hospitalization rate is fairly flat, as is the ICU rate. And for the province, one of things we need to start reporting really accurately is whether or not people are being admitted because of COVID or just with a positive test.”
Fulford added that all the information so far suggests the Omicron variant is less severe. However, she said booster doses are important, especially to the elderly and others who are vulnerable already.
The numbers reported may also be telling an incomplete story.
“I also expect the number, the true number of active infections, to be much higher than we can see and that’s a result of the backlog of tests that we’re seeing,” said Dr. Dale Kalina is an infections disease physician at Joseph Brant hospital in Burlington, Ont.
That’s backed up by Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist.
“Positivity is going way up,” Furness said. “So that already tells you that you’re missing cases among those who are testing.  There’s right now a backlog of I think more than 50,000 PCR tests.  That backlog is going to get bigger, not smaller.”
Furness said it could be mid-January before we see a more accurate reflection in the numbers of what’s happening during the holiday season.
Health officials have expected the case numbers to increase during the winter months because of the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant and they’ve urged vigilance.
“A small percentage of a lot of people infected still ends up being a lot of people in hospitals,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infections diseases specialist at Toronto General Hospital.
On the other side is the campaign to vaccinate. The eligibility now includes all adults for boosters and the rollout for children is in full swing.
In addition to vaccination centers, hospitals and hundreds of pharmacies and pop up clinics are offering the jabs and people are lining up to get them. The Ontario government also tightened up capacity limits and other restrictions.
In his annual Christmas message to Canadians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 2021 was another tough year, but he encouraged people to have hope.
“We got through it together,” Trudeau said. “Over the past year we helped our neighbors, we supported our local businesses, we stayed home, skipped celebrations and wore masks to keep each other safe, and we rolled up our sleeves to get vaccinated so we can defeat this virus.”
Still, as of Sunday, at least one health care expert said healthcare systems could be overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases in January and the country has now topped 2 million cases since the start of the pandemic.
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