The province’s science advisory schedule says Ontario has “well entered” into the sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Science Table released new forecasts Thursday, saying the sixth wave is being driven by “the new, more transmissible BA.2 variant, waning immunity, and lifting public health measures.”
The table said there was “significant uncertainty about the impact of case growth on our health system and mortality,” but added that monitoring wastewater indicated that transmission of the virus in the community “may have peaked.”
The advisory table said the county’s wastewater signal had “significantly increased” but that growth had slowed, adding that it “may have peaked”.
“It is not yet certain whether the current plateau will remain or will be followed by an increase after the holidays, or a decrease,” the document reads.
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The new modeling, however, suggests that it is likely that “hospital occupancy will continue to rise for some time”, with “uncertainty in the timing and height of the peak”.
However, the advisory schedule said the peak would likely be lower than what was seen in the pandemic’s fifth wave.
What’s more, Scientific Table said COVID-19 infections among health care workers in the county are “as high as they were in the recent Omicron wave.”
“High infection rates combined with potentially high hospitalization rates will reduce Ontario’s ability to provide care for patients without COVID-19,” the schedule said.
The science schedule said that masking indoors would “significantly reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19” as well as “improves ventilation.”
Ontario’s COVID numbers: 1,392 people hospitalized, 177 in intensive care
In a statement emailed to Global News, Alexandra Helkin, a spokeswoman for the health secretary, said the fashion show “confirms what Dr. Moore confirmed earlier this week.”
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“Ontario has the tools and capacity to manage this wave of COVID-19 without imposing additional public health measures or reauthorizing the mask,” she said. “Ontarians should stay up to date on their vaccinations, including boosters, and talk to their health care provider about available treatment options.”
Hospitalizations are “not increasing at the same rate as in the fifth wave and with the additional capacity the province has added since the beginning of the pandemic, Ontario Health is confident in the system’s ability to manage the impact of this current wave on hospitals,” Helkin said.
The new modeling comes as the province reports 1,392 people are now in an Ontario hospital with COVID-19, with 177 in intensive care.
The county also recorded 20 more deaths from the virus on Thursday, and three that occurred more than a month ago.
A total of 4,589 new infections were also reported, however, experts have warned that this is likely an underrepresentation of the virus’ spread in the province, due to Ontario’s strict testing rules.
The Chief Medical Officer of Ontario confirms that the sixth wave has reached us
Earlier this week, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said it was “obvious” that the province is in the sixth wave of the pandemic, which is “led by the BA.2 variant.”
“In the past few weeks, we have seen an increase in the positive percentage and an upward trend in wastewater monitoring and an increase in hospitalizations,” he told reporters at a press conference on Monday, adding that these trends are likely to continue for the next several weeks.
Moore said it is “strongly recommended” that masks be worn in public, that patients stay home and isolate, and that people receive every dose of the COVID-19 vaccine available to them.
He also said the county could see up to 600 intensive care unit admissions per day at the height of the sixth wave of the epidemic.
“The latest modeling shows that hospital and ICU capacity will be lower than in the previous wave with Ontario heading lower than best-case expectations.
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