- According to Dr. Kieran Moore, the ministry is contemplating protecting residents following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant.
- The novel variety was discovered for the first time in South Africa, which has been related to an increase in cases.
Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said the ministry is considering steps to protect residents after a newly identified COVID-19 variation that is causing worry in the province.
At a news conference on Monday, Moore said that the province’s third dose vaccine approach could be accelerated as part of the assessment.
“In the upcoming days, we will be assessing options and bringing them to government,” he said. “By the end of this week, I would anticipate an announcement on an updated approach to best safeguard Ontarians.”
On Sunday, the province confirmed two cases of the novel omicron type in Ottawa, both reported in people who had recently arrived from Nigeria. Two other instances of the variation were verified in Ottawa on Monday, and two more probable cases in the Hamilton region are being investigated.
While the COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness against the omicron form is unknown, Moore claims it is “extremely effective against the delta variation.”
Moore also mentioned a “slight increase in the number of cases” in Ontario’s intensive care units, noting the province is still focused on the current threat, which is delta.
“We already know how powerful the vaccine is. We know that two doses prevent hospitalization at a very high percentage… The third dose would simply serve to safeguard Ontarians further, “Moore remarked.
“That is, without a doubt, one option we will consider and present to the government this week. You may expect our third dose approach to be accelerated soon.”
Mike Schreiner, the leader of the Ontario Green Party, called on the province to extend booster eligibility to all Ontarians aged 40 and up in a statement released Monday.
“To protect Ontarians, [Doug] Ford must take all essential public health measures,” he stated.
People aged 70 and older, healthcare workers or essential caregivers in congregate setups, got two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of Janssen, and First Nations, Inuit, and Metis adults their non-Indigenous household members are currently eligible for a booster dose in Ontario.
According to the Ministry of Health, the province can handle any potential outbreak.
Meanwhile, Moore claims that the province has put the necessary infrastructure to deal with any potential outbreaks associated with the new strain.
According to him, the two people who tested positive for it are still being held in isolation, and the situation is being closely followed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Ottawa Public Health.
“We’re looking into additional situations,” Moore said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we get more in Ontario because we have a very sophisticated monitoring system.”
The novel variety was discovered for the first time in South Africa, which has been related to an increase in cases. Cases involving the omicron form have already been confirmed on various continents, recently reported in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Israel, and Hong Kong.
Moore added that public health units are also offering to test to 375 persons who have returned from countries declared to be at high risk for the variation by the federal government.
“As you are aware, the environment is rapidly changing. There are still a lot of questions regarding this new strain that needs to be answered, “Moore remarked.
“We need to know if this is a severe illness that causes people to become seriously ill or requires hospitalization. We simply do not have that information at this time.”
Ontario, according to Moore, is pressing for further testing for those returning from abroad.
“It’s clear that we need to improve our testing of returning travelers,” he said.
In a move to prevent the variant from entering Canada, the federal government banned travelers from seven southern African countries on Friday, although Nigeria was not one.
Instead of requiring people to get tested before leaving for Canada, the province has asked Ottawa to establish point-of-arrival COVID-19 testing for everyone entering Canada, regardless of where they came from.
Source: CBC News
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