Ontario’s top doc expected to announce new guidelines for Omicron variant of COVID-19 today


Published December 30, 2021 at 7:50 am

Dr Kieran Moore
Dr. Kieran Moore — The Canadian Press

After delaying an update scheduled earlier this week, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, is expected to provide an update on COVID-19 at 3 p.m. today (Thursday).

Last week, Moore suggested Ontario was ready to move away from testing and contact tracing and the numbers back him up.

More than 10,000 COVID-19 cases were reported yesterday on 59,259 completed tests. However, 74,535 tests were pending, which suggests the real number of cases was more than double.

Tuesday’s briefing was cancelled as officials scrambled to deal with the highly contagious Omicron variant. It also gave them time to see how the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. amended its policies.

Ultimately, the CDC cut isolation restrictions for positive cases to five days from 10, as well as shortening the quarantine time for close contacts.

CDC officials said the guidance is in keeping with increasing evidence that people with COVID-19 are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.

And although much more transmissible, a Public Health Ontario study suggests the Omicron variant causes less severe illness.

The study compared Omicron cases against Delta infections and found the risk of hospitalization or death was 54 per cent lower with Omicron.

However, experts are worried that the sheer number of people becoming infected, and therefore having to isolate or quarantine, threatens to crush the ability of hospitals, airlines and other businesses to stay open.

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