According to new federal government modeling, daily hospitalizations are expected to increase in the following weeks due to extraordinarily high levels of COVID-19 Omicron variant transmission.
Despite the fact that the rate of patients hospitalized with Omicron is lower than the Delta variation, the forecast suggests that due to the sheer quantity of cases, new daily hospital admissions would greatly exceed prior historical peaks.
The Canadian Public Health Agency predicts that the large number of persons seeking hospital treatment for COVID-19 will put a substantial pressure on health-care systems in the coming weeks.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam released the new modelling, which suggests the current wave of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant will peak this month at between 170,000 and 300,000 actual daily cases.
“The true number of daily cases, driven by extremely high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, could still vastly exceed anything we have experienced to date during this pandemic,” Tam said at a briefing Friday.
Current national case counts show about 37,500 new cases are reported daily, but those are far underestimated because many parts of the country no longer provide laboratory tests for the majority of the population.
About 28 per cent of lab tests that are performed are coming back positive.
“The current very high positivity rate shows that COVID-19 is widespread and that case counts underestimate the true burden of infection in the broader population,” Tam said.
Tam says that the high positivity rate shows that COVID-19 is widespread and that case counts vastly underestimate the true burden of infection in the broader population.
Since the government’s previous update before the holidays, the number of people with COVID-19 treated in hospitals has more than quadrupled to an average of over 6,779 daily, the federal numbers show.
The trends show unvaccinated people are 19 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to fully vaccinated people.
“We need to continue efforts to increase vaccine coverage to enhance protection for everyone we can,” Tam said.
Tam said she is hopeful that cases and hospitalizations in Canada will soon peak, following the trajectory seen in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Still, she warned even the downside of the curve will have consider health system impacts.
She urged Canadians to get up to date on their vaccines and continue to follow public health measures and limit contacts outside their households.