Niagara says 342 new COVID-19 cases in region today… but what’s the true number?


Published January 5, 2022 at 2:41 pm

Long before the world had even heard of COVID-19, Dr. Mustafa Hirji was encouraging people to get their annual flu shots. Photo: Twitter

When Niagara Region released today’s (December 5) new COVID-19 cases, the official count of 342 was note-worthy for a couple of reasons.

First, it is the lowest so far in January 2022 – though still much higher than any single day in 2020 or 2021 except December 28, 2021 at 345.

And secondly, it’s probably not even remotely accurate and likely represents less than half of the actual cases in Niagara Region.

Since only a small group of people now qualify for PCR testing, what the actual count numbers are is anyone’s guess.

Niagara’s acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji says since the case numbers can’t be trusted, health officials are counting on absolute numbers, such as hospitalizations.

At the moment, 104 people are being treated in Niagara hospital for the virus – eight in the ICU. Less than a month ago, hospital numbers were routinely below 15.

One Brock University student (name withheld by request) told this morning that she believes she and two friends possibly caught Omicron. She said she and a friend went out for New Years Eve dinner. While both felt fine January 1 – to the point that another friend visited her New Years Day – by January 2, both were very sick.

And the visiting friend? By January 3, he, too, was sick in bed. She said both she and her dinner friend are better this morning (“Not 100 per cent yet but much better – probably in a day or two”) but their temperatures hit 104F just two days in. “Honestly, I think I was hallucinating for a while,” she admitted. Her January 1 visitor is exactly the same, she said, just one day behind.

Suffice it to say, those three are not among those numbered because they had no access to test kits. Bad cold or Omicron? She honestly doesn’t know. “I’m not a doctor.”

Meanwhile, with the cases that are recorded, St. Catharines continues to get hammered with 1,341 ongoing followed by Niagara Falls with 936. Once again, Grimsby is hit hard, as well. While they are showing 427 ongoing cases, with 145.6 cases per 10,000 residents, it means one in every 68 Grimsby resident is stricken. Welland, also with 427 cases, is in fair better shape per capita.

From there, it’s a considerable drop-off to Fort Erie showing 288 ongoing with Lincoln coming in at 245 and Thorold at 227. Niagara-on-the-Lake presently has 164 cases while Pelham and Port Colborne both have 155 ongoing. West Lincoln followed at 117 while Wainfleet is at the bottom with 38.

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