Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s senior public health officer, said on Friday that the rise of Covid-19 infections, caused by the more transmissible Omicron form, may have crested.
Tam stated in a statement released on Friday that a modeling update from last week suggested that the Omicron surge would peak in January and recede by February, but the most recent data show “early indications that infections may have peaked at the national level, including daily case counts, test positivity, Rt (or effective reproduction number), and wastewater surveillance trends.”
Despite this, hospitals and critical care units in Canada continue to be overburdened due to the enormous number of cases.
Several Canadian provinces, notably Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia, have begun to relax restrictions imposed as the Omicron-driven fifth wave surged.
However, “some difficult weeks ahead and the potential for more bumps along the way,” Dr. Tam said, adding that immunizations and numerous successful treatments have encouraged health officials to “remain hopeful” that they will modify the character of the pandemic and “reduce severity going forward.”
During the most recent seven-day period, January 14 – 20, an average of 25,821 new cases were recorded in Canada per day. While this is a 28% drop from the previous week, the Public Health Agency of Canada reports that “infection rates remain elevated and are increasing in some jurisdictions” (PHAC).
The laboratory test positive rate remained high at 23%, indicating “continued widespread community transmission,” according to the report.
During that time, an average of 10,041 persons were treated in hospitals for Covid, which was 38% more than the previous week and above all prior peaks.
In Canada, there have been 2,868,862 Covid-19 cases and 32,220 fatalities documented since the outbreak began.