Halton council hears dire Omicron warning for cases in Burlington, Oakville, Milton


Published December 15, 2021 at 11:50 am

Halton regional councillors heard some sobering projections about the spread of Omicron variation of COVID-19 in Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

At today’s council meeting, two of the region’s associate Medical Officers of Health, Dr. Deepika Lobo and Dr. Joanna Oda, said the province could be seeing upwards of 10,000 new COVID-19 infections a day as the more infectious Omicron variant takes hold.

And although it appears to be less severe than earlier variants, local hospitals still have to be ready for a likely spike in admissions and ICU cases. Currently, 62 per cent of ICU beds in the region are filled.

“There has been a 224 per cent increase in cases in the region in the three weeks since Omicron has shown up,” said Lobo during her presentation. “Omicron infects 7.7 times more individuals than Delta, but the vaccine still protects against severe disease and hospitalization.”

More than a third of new cases in Ontario are of the Omicron variety and that is expected to keep rising.

Right now, one of the main ways the strain is spreading is in elementary schools, where the majority of children aged 5-11 are not yet vaccinated.

According to Oda, nearly 23,000 doses of vaccines have been given to kids aged 5-11 as of Dec. 12. With another 23,000 appointments booked by the end of the year, the region is on pace to have about 50 per cent vaccine coverage in that age group before the year ends.

The recommendations from Halton Public Health is to get vaccines and limit gatherings and meetings over the next few weeks.

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