Staffing challenges from surging COVID cases affecting some police, transit service


Published January 6, 2022 at 4:00 am

Surging cases of COVID-19 driven by the rapidly transmissible Omicron variant are pushing the health-care system to the brink and putting pressure on some police and transit services.

With 170 personnel booked off on leave related to COVID-19, the Winnipeg Police Service declared a state of emergency Wednesday and the Edmonton and Calgary police services warned of staffing challenges after a growing number of members tested positive or were in isolation.

Ontario’s GO Transit says a temporary reduction in train and bus service in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton regions is set to begin within days due to staffing shortages caused by the Omicron variant.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced Wednesday (Jan. 5) Ottawa will distribute 140 million rapid tests across the country this month, four times the number delivered in December.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the restrictions on molecular lab tests mean there is no way to be sure of just how many COVID-19 cases there truly are in Canada.

According to the latest figures from Health Canada, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has fuelled 344,140 active cases across the country.

The Canadian Press

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