Omicron now the dominant COVID-19 variant in Ontario as new case count climbs over 3,000


Published December 21, 2021 at 3:17 pm

Dr. Kieran Moore

The province’s top doctor says Ontario is on track to record more COVID-19 cases than any other time during the pandemic as the Omicron variant has become the dominant strain of the virus.

Dr. Kieran Moore gave an update on the COVID-19 situation in the province on Tuesday, and said the latest strain of the virus is between four to eight times more transmissible than previous variants.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have increased by nine percent. Moore said ICU occupancy is currently stable, but the province is preparing for an increase in admission due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

With the provincial weekly incident rate now at 112 cases per 100,000 people, Moore said “there is no question that in the coming days and weeks we’ll require more vigilance” to blunt the rise in cases.

Moore said the precent positivity in Ontario has also been steadily increasing and was 7.3 per cent for week December 12 to 18.

The update comes as officials in some regions report health centres can’t keep up with the surge in demand for tests, and an expanded COVID-19 booster shot eligibility which has led to a shortage of appointments at vaccination clinics.

Moore said the province is looking to secure more rapid antigen tests to ensure first responders and frontline workers can stay on the job and avoid pressures on the healthcare system.

Testing will also be prioritized for high-risk populations including long-term care homes, retirement facilities and shelters.

Data from the province showed the new case count in all of Ontario was 3,453 with 10 deaths on Tuesday, which is the second day in a row that the province-wide new case count was over 3,000.

Moore said third dose COVID-19 shots take between five to seven days to boost resilience against the virus.

The province put new COVID-19 safety measures in place on the weekend, including caps on social gathering at 10 people indoors.

The Unity Health hospital network in Toronto says it has made the “difficult decision” to pause non-essential ambulatory care and surgical procedures, with the exception of urgent cases.

Moore said the province has put a call out to any professionals with experience administering intermuscular injections to increase the number of people available to get shots into arms.

“We’re pulling out all the stops to try to have as many immunizers available to Ontarians as possible,” he said.

Moore ended the press conference by offering his personal thanks to healthcare workers who will be sacrificing holiday celebrations to work overtime hours to administer vaccines and support Ontarians.


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