Even as some provinces have reported record-high daily COVID-19 case counts, health experts are warning the real infection rate is likely much higher, pointing out that data has been clouded by holiday delays and with hospitals and testing centres reaching their limits.
After taking the holiday weekend off, a number of provincial and territorial governments are set to resume their COVID updates today.
Yesterday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced some health workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to stay on the job. He said the move is necessary to keep the health-care system operational, and the decision would be made on a case-by-case basis under certain conditions.
Quebec reported 12,833 new cases and 702 hospitalizations, with 15 more deaths linked to the virus.
Manitoba and Ontario have said they are considering similar measures to avoid overwhelming their own health systems. Manitoba reported 825 new cases and five deaths yesterday, while Ontario reported 8,825 new infections.
Ontario also announced that beginning on Thursday, long-term care homes won’t accept general visitors or allow residents to leave for social reasons in order to avoid exposure to the virus.
Alberta’s chief medical health officer said the province recorded 8,250 cases between Dec. 23 and 28. Dr. Deena Hinshaw said hospitalizations remain “relatively stable” but noted it’s still too soon to know if Omicron will stress the health system.
In Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador reported a record-breaking single-day count of 194 new infections. Nova Scotia confirmed 561 new cases, while New Brunswick reported 306 new cases.
British Columbia health officials announced 1,785 new cases, although they warned the data is preliminary.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2021.