Coronavirus: Omicron at the forefront in certain provinces

The fifth wave of the Omicron-fueled COVID-19 pandemic appears to be peaking in some provinces, while others say the worst is likely yet to come.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it is preparing for a surge in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and absenteeism among workers through mid-February, while Alberta says hospitalization rates are rising to levels not seen since mid-October.

The rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Prince Edward Island has prompted the province to reduce the size of gatherings and close gymnasiums and restaurant dining areas until at least the end of the month.

Even as they both set new records for hospitalizations, officials in Ontario and Quebec say the daily rate appears to be falling slightly, though they warn the health care system remains under enormous strain.

There are 3,417 COVID patients in Quebec hospitals, while Ontario has 4,183, including 580 people in intensive care.

British Columbia has recorded 1,975 cases of COVID-19 with 854 people hospitalized, as the province’s top doctor described his decision to allow gyms and other fitness facilities to reopen on Thursday as a ‘cautious step’ to lift restrictions related to COVID-19.

Dr Bonnie Henry said a proof of vaccination card will still be required to use gyms, and facilities will have to operate within capacity limits and provide seven square meters for each person exercising.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 19, 2022.

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