Ontario has entered the sixth COVID-19 wave, doctors says

After more than two years fighting COVID-19, some medical experts in Ontario say the province has entered a sixth wave.

“There are more cases now than there were a week ago and two weeks ago,” infectious disease expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch said Tuesday.

“We can call this a wave. We just don’t know the size of the wave. But it’s here.”

Bogoch said Ontario should “watch the hospitalizations closely” over the next few weeks.

“We’ll probably start to see early signs of hospitalizations rise in the coming week or two ahead,” he said. 

With access to PCR testing limited, the exact number of Ontarians infected with COVID-19 remains elusive. Using viral signals in wastewater, the province’s science advisory puts the doubling rate at every 9.6 days.

Ontario health officials are reporting 790 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Tuesday, including 165 patients in intensive care.

Tuesday’s hospitalizations case count marks a considerable increase over the 655 reported on Monday and the 553 reported on Sunday, although not all hospitals report patient data over the weekends.

The rise in hospitalizations is worrying to the CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.

“If we are not careful, people that are waiting for surgeries and procedures will again be postponed because we don’t have enough human resources in the system,” Dr. Doris Grinspun said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health says the province has the tools to handle the impact of COVID-19.

“The latest modelling shows that our hospitals and health system can manage any of the projected scenarios, while not compromising our ability to continue addressing the surgical backlog caused by the pandemic,” Bill Campbell writes in a statement.

Campbell stresses that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore expected key indicators to rise as restrictions lift and people spend more time together.

“Dr. Moore said this was going to happen … this doesn’t come to anyone’s surprise,” Bogoch said.

While cases and hospitilizations are going up, Bogoch said he thinks Ontario should “never see businesses or schools ever shuttered again.”

“I really don’t think that would be appropriate at all, and I hope to never see that ever again,” he said. 

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Sean Davidson

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