Ontario Independent

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

COVID-19 cases are undercounted, according to provincial health officials

umber of COVID-19 cases recorded is likely to be underestimated.

Key takeaways:

  • COVID-19 case counts reached new highs in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia on Christmas Eve, prompting Nunavut to declare a state of emergency to prevent the virus from spreading. 

On Christmas Eve, record-high COVID-19 case counts were reported in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia, and Nunavut ordered a full lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Health officials across the country warned that the latest figures are underestimating and foreshadowing what is to come and urged people to reconsider large holiday gatherings.

On Friday, Quebec reported just over 10,000 new daily infections, a new high compared to the 9,397 cases reported the day before.

There were 9,571 new cases in Ontario on Friday, up from 5,790 on Thursday.

In a Christmas message posted to Facebook, Quebec Premier Francois Legault wrote, “The Omicron variant is more contagious than anything seen since the start of the pandemic.”

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He forewarned that there would be more difficult weeks ahead.

“Case numbers were expected to rise in the winter months due to the highly transmissible nature of the Omicron variant,” said Alexandra Hilkene, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott.

“We expect them to rise in the coming days and weeks, as other jurisdictions are experiencing similar increases in case rates per capita.”

Manitoba reported 742 daily cases, the highest number of cases reported so far in the pandemic.

According to Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, the count is likely an underestimate because the province’s testing system is at capacity, and there is a backlog of 10,000 tests.

Roussin told a news conference, “We’ve set a daily record, so Manitobans need to prepare.”

“It’s time to rethink your vacation plans. If you’re planning on going out, please reconsider… if you’re going to 3 or 4 gatherings this weekend, please limit yourself to just one.”

With eight active cases in various communities, Nunavut ordered a “circuit-breaker” lockdown, ending all indoor gatherings.

All non-essential businesses were required to close in the territory, and travel into and out of certain communities was limited to essential purposes only.

The order came a day after Iqaluit announced tighter restrictions after a case was confirmed in a person who had not left the city in over a month.

“With the introduction of COVID-19 in multiple communities over the past week, we must move to the strictest public health restrictions across the entire territory,” said Dr. Michael Patterson, the chief public health officer.

Number of COVID-19 cases recorded is likely to be underestimated.
Number of COVID-19 cases recorded is likely to be underestimated. Image from CTV

“I recognize that this will make the holiday season more difficult for many people, but it is necessary for the health and safety of our communities and loved ones.”

Lori Idlout, a Nunavut MP, said she had tested positive for COVID-19 the day before and was undergoing isolation at her home in Iqaluit.

In a statement, she said, “I am double vaccinated, which is helping to keep my symptoms mild.”

‘I’m disclosing my diagnosis to remind people that the pandemic is still going on.’ Even though we are all sick of the pandemic, it is critical to get vaccinated and booster shots as soon as possible.”

The province of British Columbia reported 2,441 daily cases and 10,415 active cases. The new cases surpassed the previous high of 2,046 infections set on Thursday.

B.C. has also reached its COVID-19 testing capacity.

She advised residents not to get tested unless they had symptoms and to self-isolate if they suspected they had COVID-19.

“Omicron is unique,” she explained. “We’re in a different game, a different pandemic now,” she says.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to “keep showing up for one another” by following public health measures and encouraging friends and family members to get vaccinated in his annual Christmas message posted on Facebook.

Source: CTV News

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