Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, told reporters at a news conference that projections from a few weeks ago have now come to fruition.
“A fourth wave is underway in Canada,” she said in part, adding the country has 13,000 active cases, which is more than double from two weeks ago.
Focusing on Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine hesitant
On average, more than 1,500 new cases are being reported daily, with the majority of them reported in the 20-to-39-year-old age group, she said.
“After several months of declining severity trends, we’re now seeing early signs of increases in severe illness following the recent increase in cases,” Tam said. “On average, 511 people with COVID-19 are being treated in the hospitals each day, an increase of 12 per cent compared to last week.”
Tam added 206 people are in ICUs across Canada, which has levelled off.
The number of deaths related to COVID-19 remains low, with the country averaging about seven deaths a day.
“While the Delta variant is more contagious, a complete two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine still provides substantial protection,” Tam said. “The vast majority of cases and hospitalizations are in those not fully vaccinated.”
To date, close to 82 per cent of Canadians are partially vaccinated, while 71 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Tam called on Canadians who have yet to get vaccinated to do so.
“Coverage is not even across age groups. In particular, during this last stretch to increase vaccine uptake across all age groups, we need to build up momentum to increase coverage among young adults, the age group where most transmission is occurring,” she said.
Dr. Tam addresses slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine rates among young adults
“This is could help reduce the size of the fourth wave in the fall and winter, and help limit its impact on our health-care system”
Tam added health officials are working with experts across Canada to monitor emerging evidence on the potential need for booster shots on certain populations, like the immunocompromised.
“For now, our top priority remains ensuring as many people in Canada who are eligible are vaccinated,” she said.
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