Omicron cases in Canada, booster recommendations and the discriminatory border restrictions.
Friday was the first day Ontario reported more than 1,000 cases since May. The province saw 1,031 new cases and four deaths.
Ontario also has at least 7 cases of the Omicron variant labelled as a variant “of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO). The first two cases were identified in Ottawa on November 28. Ottawa has since reported two more cases.
A single Omicron case was discovered in the GTA, Durham and Halton. The case in the GTA came from a child under the age of 12 from the Vaughan region.
Health officials warn of capacity issues at hospitals in the Windsor region and a surge in respiratory issues in children.
“Our local partners will continue to collaborate to ensure our regional system is able to handle an influx of patients that will challenge our capacity to ensure timely access to care,” the hospitals said in a statement.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit as well as, three other local hospitals are overwhelmed with patients with COVID-19 and other respiratory issues.
The hospitals have noted an increase in young children with serious respiratory issues.
“The reason for this sudden increase is unknown other than to recognize that respiratory viruses not directly related to COVID-19 are still with us and we need to be cognizant of them in our daily lives,” the hospitals said.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly recommends COVID-19 boosters for adults over the age of 50 and eligible individuals.
Eligible individuals include:
- Individuals living in Lon-term care facilities
- Individuals who received two doses of AstraZeneca or one dose of Janssen
- Certain immunocompromised individuals
- Adults in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities
- Front-line health-care workers
According to the NACI’s report, “Modelling results suggest that booster doses are projected to reduce infections and severe illness in the population, at least over the short-term.”
Travel bans in southern Africa “have had a disastrous effect on already battered economies,” Africa bureau chief Geoffrey York told the Globe and Mail.
Besides the counties in Southern Africa, travel bans have not been put in place for any other country with omicron cases.
McMaster University physician Dr. Zain Chagla says testing is a less harmful and more effective mitigation strategy than travel bans.
“Look, I don’t think we’re going to be able to shut our border to this variant,” Chagla said.
Chagla highlights how travel bans were deficient at the beginning of the pandemic when Canada focused solely on travellers from China resulting in cases coming in from elsewhere including, Iran, the United States, Europe and Egypt.
WHO echoed Chagla’s thoughts, releasing guidelines against travel bans. They are asking countries to apply “an evidence-informed and risk-based approach” to any travel measures. They added that travel bans impede information sharing and have affected a shipment of samples required to study the variant.