The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is reporting that the region is seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases recently. Local infection indicators are increasing, including COVID-19 test positivity rates, wastewater levels, hospitalizations and outbreaks.
“We are currently in the 7th wave of COVID-19, along with the rest of Ontario,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “We’re watching local indicators closely and expect that the wave will peak over the next 1-2 weeks both locally and provincially.” He anticipates that the 7th wave will follow the same pattern seen in other countries: a 4-week increase followed by a 4-week decline.
The 7th wave is being driven by the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has been steadily increasing across the province in the last month. The timing also coincides with a decrease in vaccine and infection-related immunity in many people.
“Protection from the two-dose vaccine series for many people is wearing off,” explains Dr. Roumeliotis. “Over 65% of people under 50 have not yet gotten their first booster dose. This is a concern as the booster dose provides significant added protection against serious illness and hospitalization.” He adds that immunity from previous infections also decreases over time.
The EOHU is strongly recommending the following measures to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19:
- Make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine. This is especially important for individuals who have not yet received their first, second or third dose (first booster). Fourth doses (second boosters) are also now available for eligible individuals age 18+. For vaccine details, including how to book an appointment, see www.eohu.ca/vaccines.
- Wear a mask in public indoor settings and outdoor crowded events where distancing is difficult or not possible, such as at concerts, festivals, busy markets, etc.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Continue following public health measures like frequent handwashing and coughing or sneezing into your sleeve.
For more information and the latest COVID-19 updates, visit www.EOHU.ca/coronavirus.