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Ontario’s 7th wave of COVID-19 has peaked, top doctor says

Written by Javed Iqbal

The seventh wave of COVID-19 in Ontario has peaked, the province’s health chief said Friday.

Dr. Kieran Moore said in an interview that key indicators are peaking or already trending downward.

“I think we’ve already started the downturn,” he said.

“It’s always easier to look back and say where we were, but from our vantage point just today, it’s definitely stabilized, and we’re seeing a decrease in the overall number of people admitted, stabilization in the ICU, which are typically late indicators, and at the provincial level the effluent is decreasing.”

Public Health Ontario says the number of cases of COVID-19 fell in 22 of Ontario’s 34 health units in the week ending July 30, with percentage positivity falling slightly week over week and hospitalizations falling to 306 compared to 463 on previous week.

46 COVID-19 deaths were reported in the week ending July 30, compared with 75 the week before. However, based on the latest data released by the province on Thursday, there were 80 deaths linked to COVID-19 during the week, making it the second deadliest of the seventh wave so far.

Moore says he expects the overall risk and impact on the health sector to continue to decline through August.

He also says that a fall wave of COVID-19 may not be as bad as he would have predicted a few months ago, given that all humans have been infected with the Omicron variant, coupled with protection from high immunization rates and the the fact that a new variant of concern has not yet emerged.

There is still a risk of reinfection with Omicron, Moore said, but people who have been vaccinated and infected are much better protected than people with an infection but no vaccination.

Ontarians age 18 and older have been eligible for a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for three weeks — previously it was only available to people age 60 and older, as well as immunocompromised or Indigenous adults. Just under 16 percent of Ontario adults have received four doses, Moore said.

In the particularly vulnerable population of people age 80 and older, about 61 percent have received a fourth dose, Moore said.

Also, vaccines for children under five became available a week ago, and Moore said 9,000 have received their first shot. That’s about one percent of the total population of Ontario in that age group.

“It was expected in August to be low numbers as parents are busy on holidays and certainly expect those numbers to increase as we move into autumn,” he said.

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Javed Iqbal

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