‘FOLLOW PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES’: 3,453 new cases in the province

Ontario reported 3,453 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, 11 deaths and 165 patients in intensive care

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Ontarians should spend time with family virtually over the holidays or outdoors if possible, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore says.

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“As 2021 comes to a close, I know that this is not where any of us wanted to be,” Moore said Tuesday. “In addition to getting vaccinated, please follow the public health measures we know have worked so well to protect us over the last 20 months.”

The easily-transmissible Omicron variant has become the dominant COVID-19 strain in Ontario, he confirmed.

The medical community is attempting to determine the severity of Omicron but has only preliminary data at this point, he said.

Of the 4,600 confirmed cases of Omicron in Ontario, only 15 individuals have ended up in hospital and none were in intensive care, he said.

Moore stressed these cases were largely in 20- to 30-year-olds, and the belief is that Omicron will start filling up hospital beds soon.

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A booster dose is believed to highly improve one’s chances of not becoming seriously ill if the virus breaks through.

The province opened up booster shots Monday to all adults and by Tuesday, the portal for accessing vaccine appointments and enhanced vaccine certificates was struggling to keep up with demand.

“Due to high volumes on Ontario’s COVID-19 enhanced vaccine certificate and appointment booking systems you may experience longer than normal wait times to book an appointment or download an enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code,” the website says. “There may be limited access to COVID-19 vaccination appointments in your region at this time. Individual public health units are working to add appointments to vaccination centres on an ongoing basis. We thank you for your patience, and ask that you check back regularly or check for availability through other channels such as pharmacy, primary care settings, and walk-in clinics.”

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The province administered a whopping 206,595 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the previous day.

“In Ontario, 25,629,533 vaccine doses have been administered. 90.5% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 87.9% have two doses. 412 people are hospitalized with #COVID19. 303 are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status and 109 are fully vaccinated,” Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted.

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Ontario reported 3,453 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, 11 deaths and 165 patients in intensive care.

The number of daily cases has been tracking along the high end of the best-case scenario forecast in the most recent provincial modelling — one that included a “circuit breaker” to control unchecked Omicron growth.

Ottawa recorded 359 cases Tuesday, second only to Toronto’s 901 new cases.

Data for variants can lag behind due to the level of testing required but public health officials reported 395 additional confirmed cases of the Omicron variant and 569 cases of the Delta variant Tuesday.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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