Eastern Ontario’s top doctor expects the seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to peak locally and across the province in the next one to two weeks.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit and Ottawa Public Health are reporting an increase in COVID-19 activity in recent weeks.
In Eastern Ontario, the health unit says infection indicators are increasing, including COVID-19 test positivity rates, hospitalizations and outbreaks. On Friday, the health unit reported a positivity rate of 16 per cent, while there are 11 people in hospital due to COVID-19.
“We are currently in the seventh wave of COVID-19, along with the rest of Ontario,” medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said in a statement. “We’re watching local indicators closely and expect that the wave will peak over the next one-two weeks both locally and provincially.”
Roumeliotis anticipates the seventh wave will follow the same pattern seen in other countries: a four-week increase followed by a four-week decline.
The seventh wave is being driven by the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron variant.
Ottawa Public Health said this week that the new wave is “another reminder: the pandemic is not over.” Ottawa is seeing a rise in wastewater viral signal, test positivity rate, hospital admissions and outbreaks.
Ottawa’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 20 per cent, while 23 new outbreaks have been declared this week in Ottawa’s long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals and other settings.
The rise in COVID-19 cases in the region comes as Ontario opens up the eligibility for the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all residents over the age of 18.
“Protection from the two-dose vaccine series for many people is wearing off,” said Dr. Roumeliotis. “Over 65 per cent 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.”