COVID-19 updates for week of May 23

·4 min read

According to Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam’s May 20 statement on COVID-19 in Canada, she says that disease activity indicators show transmission decrease in most areas, with the laboratory test positivity across the country during the period from May 11 to 17 was down to 11 per cent, and wastewater signals have remained the same or decreased, although variability with testing across Canada remains a concern.

Severe illness trends are declining, according to Tam, but hospitalizations remain elevated and variable and impacts on the healthcare system remain high due to absenteeism and widespread illness. She says that with the expectation that COVID-19 will continue to evolve, they are constantly on the lookout for new variants and how to protect all Canadians against them. The BA.2 sub-lineage of the Omicron variant remains the predominant variant and she stresses that a third booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine provides greater protection against it than just two doses.

Tam reports that over five million eligible Canadians need one or more of their primary series of COVID-19 shots, and many more are eligible to get a booster dose to increase their protection against the virus even more, especially for those over the age of 50 years.

“As of May 19, over 18.6 million third doses and as of May 8, over two million fourth doses have been given. National data as of May 8 indicate that over 85 per cent of seniors aged 70 years or older and 62 per cent to 76 per cent of 50- to 69-year-olds have gotten at least one additional dose,” she said in her statement.

Tam emphasizes that during the transition phase of the pandemic and beyond, maintaining caution, personal protective habits developed over the past two years and a state of readiness is prudent to fight off any possible future surges. This includes being up to date with vaccinations, continuing to wear a mask when spacing isn’t possible, avoid crowded areas if possible, and ensuring that indoor ventilation is as good as it can be.

In Canada, as of May 20, there were 2,197 cases reported. Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of cases reported has been 3,842,184. The number of people hospitalized as of May 18 was 5,918 cases, with 372 cases in the ICU. Thirty-seven deaths were reported as of May 20, while the total number of fatalities reported since the start of the pandemic is 40,628.

In Ontario, as of May 22, there were 1,052 new cases reported. There were 809 hospitalizations, and 152 people reported in the ICU as of that day. There were 13,205 deaths reported this week since the beginning of the pandemic, an increase of 103 cases since last week.

In Hastings Prince Edward, as of May 19, there were 96 new high-risk cases and active high-risk cases amounted to 104 people. There were seven outbreaks in high-risk settings like LTC homes, and there were 59 deaths reported. There are 16 people who are currently hospitalized at Quinte Health Care hospitals and two people in the ICU.

HPEPH encouraging fourth dose for those eligible

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health issued a press release on May 18 that encouraged everyone who is eligible to get a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Those eligible for the fourth dose must be 60 years of age or older, First Nations, Inuit or Metis individuals aged 18 years or older or a non-Indigenous household member aged 18 years or older. It is also recommended that people wait 140 days after a third dose to get the fourth dose.

Dr. Ethan Toumishey, the HPEPH medical officer of health and CEO says that as everyone begins to resume many regular activities, keeping up to date with recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will protect everyone.

“Learning to live with COVID-19 does not mean ignoring the virus. If eligible, take advantage of the protection available through a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to help reduce your risk,” he said in the statement.

Eligible residents of Hastings Prince Edward can get their fourth dose at the following locations; local pharmacies, select community clinics, select primary care providers and through appointments available on the provincial booking system. If anyone has any questions or concerns, they’re asked to visit www.hpepublichealth.ca/vaccine-booking or speak with their primary care provider.

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times

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