Niagara Region sees 318 new cases of COVID-19 today but top doc believes Omicron is the last gasp of pandemic

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Published December 29, 2021 at 2:34 pm

Dr. Mustafa Hirji getting his first vaccine shot during the summer. Photo: Twitter

There were 318 new cases of COVID-19 today (December 29) in Niagara Region and while that number is exceptionally high, the region’s acting Medical Officer of Health believes that the Omicron variant currently driving up case numbers is also the last gasp of the two-year pandemic.

However, he also warned, that doesn’t mean we’re all done with COVID-19. “We are in the latter stages of this pandemic; the end is probably not far away now,” tweeted Dr. Mustafa Hirji.

“But we have to weather a hurricane first. Which means we can’t act like it is over yet – (for the) next few weeks, we need to stay home, limit our contacts, and redouble masking/distancing (measures).”

In an editorial written before Christmas, Hirji used an all-too-familiar horror flick technique to illustrate his point.

“There’s a trope in horror movies where near the end, with everyone exhausted and injured, the monster appears defeated, only to suddenly surge to life back for one last scare,” Hirji wrote.

“In the horror show that is this pandemic, Omicron is the final, sudden scare. I truly believe that once we defeat the Omicron variant, we will have defeated the pandemic and be able to transition back to normal life.”

That said, Hirji made it clear residents have to deal in the here-and-now to get there so today’s numbers weren’t encouraging.

Today’s new case count of 318 is the second-highest in the 20-month history of the pandemic behind only yesterday’s number of 346. With just 77 cases resolved, that leaves Niagara fighting 2,442 ongoing cases.

St. Catharines continues to lead the active cases with 663 followed by Niagara Falls at 503 and then dropping to 246 in Grimsby. However, the telling statistic is in the case numbers per 10,000 residents where Grimsby is the top of the pack with 83.9 residents infected per 10,000. St. Catharine is far behind at just 46.9.

Five more Niagara municipalities have triple-digit cases with Welland showing 198, Lincoln at 143, Thorold with 137 active, Fort Erie sitting at 125 and Niagara-on-the-Lake down at 110. Following the pack is Pelham currently with 95 active cases, Port Colborne holding with 84, West Lincoln recording 62 and at the bottom, Wainfleet with just 12 ongoing.

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