Canada Covid-19: Variants have likely replaced the original virus in many parts of the country, health officials say


“This is not the news any of us wanted, but hospitalizations are on the rise, ICU beds are filling up, variants are spreading, and even people who had convinced themselves not to worry are getting sick, “said Canadian Prime Minister Justin. Trudeau told a news conference Tuesday, adding that this is a “very serious” third wave of the pandemic.

Intensive care unit admissions jumped 18% last week alone, and the new variants are putting “great pressure” on hospital capacity, the Public Health Agency of Canada said.

“With increasing infection rates, we are seeing more young adults with Covid-19 receiving treatment in the hospital,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s director of public health. He added that more than 15,000 variant cases have been detected so far, the vast majority of them variant B.1.1.7 detected for the first time in the UK.
In many provinces now experiencing a third wave, public health chiefs report that younger patients are becoming seriously ill with Covid-19, and many of those cases have tested positive for worrying variants, according to Tam.

“A lot of them deteriorate quite quickly and have to be admitted to the ICU immediately, and then they spend quite a bit of time in the ICU, which means there is an impact on capacity as well,” Tam said.

While hospitalizations have not dramatically increased, more admitted patients now need intensive care as the variants make them more seriously ill, he said.

In Toronto, public health officials ordered all elementary and secondary schools to stop learning in person and switch to remote learning, starting Wednesday, as they attempt to “reverse the surge in infection currently facing the province,” he said. Toronto Public Health.

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Ontario, whose capital is Toronto, is debating new and more restrictive measures, including a stay-at-home order, as its UCI capacity is increasingly limited.

The order will be in effect from April 7 to 18, according to the guidance issued Tuesday, and may be extended.

“Current circumstances require tough decisions to be made locally to protect all members of our school communities, including students, teachers and staff,” said Toronto Public Health.

British Columbia has taken steps to close the Whistler ski resort and further restrict meetings in the province, which is now also dealing with an outbreak of the virus among NHL hockey players with the Vancouver Canucks.

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The province of Alberta also confirmed that it was dealing with new clusters of cases related to variant P.1.

This week, Canada surpassed one million Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. Tam called that milestone a “stark reminder” of everything Canadians have been through.

While variant B.1.1.7 has now likely become the dominant variant in Canada, Tam said his team is also closely monitoring a significant outbreak of variant P.1, first detected in Brazil and now increasing. in some western Canada countries. provinces.

On Monday, British Columbia’s health minister said the number of P.1 variant cases in his province nearly doubled over Easter weekend.

“The most transmissive variants of Covid-19 will finally take over,” Adrian Dix said in an update Monday.

CNN’s Elizabeth Stuart and Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.

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