All Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon residents ‘likely’ to face Omicron infection this winter: Peel’s top doc

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Published January 12, 2022 at 11:32 am

It’s likely that all Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon residents will face infection from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 this winter according to Peel’s top doctor.

And while recent studies show Omicron is milder compared to previous strains, Peel’s medical officer of health Dr. Lawrence Loh said that’s only the case if you’re vaccinated.

“Given how transmissible and widespread this disease is, it’s likely that we will all face Omicron infection at some point in the winter,” Loh said on Wednesday at the City of Brampton’s weekly COVID-19 press conference. “That said, we can get through this together by reducing our own risk of severe outcomes by getting vaccinated and sticking to these precautions.”

Loh said the Omicron variant is “rather mild” compared to previous strains of the virus, but not for unvaccinated individuals.

“It is mild for those who are vaccinated,” he said. “If you’ve got two doses on board and three if you’re older, it’s mild. If you’re unvaccinated at this point of time, the risk of severe outcomes is the same.”

A study by Public Health Ontario last month found the risk of hospitalization or death was 54 per cent lower in Omicron cases than Delta cases, adjusting for vaccination status and region.

While the study found Omicron appears to be the first dominant variant of COVID-19 to demonstrate a decline in disease severity, its impact on the healthcare system is significant due to high transmissibility.

Loh said the message is clear and told Peel residents to “get vaccinated if you haven’t been yet.”

Residents can book a vaccine appointment through the provincial vaccination portal.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province reported 9,783 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, but experts have warned that case counts are likely an underestimate due to limited testing capacity.

More than 3,400 people in Ontario were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, with more than 500 adults with the virus are in Ontario intensive care units.

Elliot said the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 patients in ICUs is 411.

As of Wednesday, there were 101 patients with COVID-19 at Brampton Civic Hospital, including 12 in the intensive care unit.

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