Ontario Science Table Recommends That A “Circuit Breaker” Be Needed To Dull Omicron


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Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisers recommend immediate and strict “circuit breaker” action and more booster doses to reduce the impacts of the Omicron variant.

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“It’s not a lockdown, it’s not a stay-at-home order, but it requires a reduction in contact,” group co-chair Dr Adalsteinn Brown said at a press conference on Thursday. .

“It could be capacity limits in different contexts, it could be a stricter application of masking indoors… It’s not new things that we’ve never seen before, it’s these measures. basic public health. “

The table also recommends giving 250,000 booster shots per day.

That combined “could blunt the Omicron wave,” the advisers wrote in their Thursday brief.

“Omicron will be the dominant variant this week.”

Without further intervention, science table modeling suggests Ontario is on track to see 10,000 new cases daily by Christmas. Even with a circuit breaker, the science table said the number of daily cases could approach record highs by New Year’s Day.

Without additional public health measures, ICU admissions could surpass 600 by New Year’s Eve and by early January reach “volatile levels.” The province reported that around 600 intensive care beds were available, with an additional capacity of 500.

But experts said surgeries would be affected once 300 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott said he would have ignored the measures announced by Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday.

“They aren’t enough to really hold back the rapid growth of the variant,” Brown said.

Don’t delay: advisers

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“While uncertainty persists, waiting for more information will eliminate the possibility of action,” the advisers write.

Early evidence suggests that Omicron can cause serious illness, they note.

“Although vaccines are less effective against Omicron infection, boosters can significantly increase protection. Even two doses probably offer strong protection against serious illness. The risk of serious illness is considerably higher in unvaccinated people. “

Vaccinating children and providing booster doses to others can help protect those most vulnerable to the virus, counselors add.

“High quality masks, indoor physical distance, improved ventilation and increased access to rapid testing can help save time for boosters to take effect and keep schools open.

“While uncertainty persists, waiting for more information will eliminate the opportunity to act.”

Local death announced

The science table announcement came as the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health COVID-19 dashboard confirmed the 17 e local death from COVID-19, as well as 34 new cases and 257 active.

Hospitalizations of people testing positive for the novel coronavirus totaled nine, including six in intensive care, the health unit COVID-19 dashboard show. Both figures were down from Wednesday of one.

The rising infection rate means parents need to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible, especially before the winter break. Eligibility for booster shots will be open to all adults starting Monday, and health unit staff recommend that parents take advantage of appointments available for children.

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In a press release, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Ethan Toumishey said immunizing children now “will help keep them safe, keep them in school, get them to do the things they love. and protect your family and the community ”.

There have been 10 outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools over the past month, most in elementary grades in which children had not yet been fully immunized. High school students have a higher vaccination rate and these schools see less transmission of the virus, the statement added.

Twenty homes

There were a total of 20 active outbreaks on Thursday, an increase of two from the previous day, and 30 cases considered cures.

Sixteen of the outbreaks occurred in Belleville. The latter included a daycare center with three cases and a health-related workplace with two. Neither has been identified by the health unit.

There were 10 new cases in Belleville, nine in Quinte West, eight in Prince Edward County, three in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and two in central Hastings County and the Tyendinaga-Deseronto Township area.

Vaccination rates for people 12 years of age and older were 89% with at least one dose and 84% with two. Among those five years of age and older, the rates were 85% and 78%, respectively.

Sixty-two percent of the new cases were people who received a full vaccination, while 32 percent had none and six percent had a partial vaccination.

Thirty-four percent of cases since July 1 have received full vaccination. Fifty-seven percent were unvaccinated and nine percent were partially vaccinated.

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Testing in Belleville and Trenton can be booked online in the COVID-19 section of qhc.on.ca or by calling 613-961-5544. Other test options are listed on hpepublichealth.ca/get-tested-for-covid-19/ .

People who book tests should receive an appointment within 24 to 48 hours.

Vaccination can be booked at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/ or at participating pharmacies listed here: covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations .

For more information on COVID-19 and supports, visit hpepublichealth.ca .

Free and confidential mental health support for issues of any kind is available by calling Quinte Health Care’s Crisis intervention center at 613-969-7400 ext. 2753 or 1-888-757-7766 or Addiction and Mental Health Services at 310-OUVERT (6736).

  • With files from The Canadian Press

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