Think you have COVID-19 during the Omicron wave? Here's what to do
OTTAWA — Nearly two years into the pandemic, most people know what to do when they feel ill to stop the spread of COVID-19. Omicron appears to spread faster and more easily than its predecessors, even among the vaccinated.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government is "very concerned" by the latest projections about the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Canada.
Those projections, made by chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam on Friday, suggest that Canada is on track to experience a COVID-19 resurgence -- one that could worsen if the Omicron variant tightens its grip on the country.
"We are, obviously, very concerned with the numbers Dr. Tam shared on Friday," Trudeau said, speaking to reporters Monday morning.
"The non-vaccinated are running a danger of death": the cash comments of a physician
"But I think Canadians are also very aware that we have done many things to keep ourselves safe and we just need to continue them."
Canada on track for COVID-19 resurgence, Omicron could make it worse, data shows
Above all, Trudeau highlighted the importance of "getting vaccinated."
"Making sure everyone is double-vaccinated is really important. As we make boosters available, certain age ranges, please book your appointment for a booster. Let's make sure our kids between five and 11 continue to progress in vaccination," he said.
Video: Trudeau addresses concerns over omicron variant in Canada (cbc.ca)
Canadians might also want to consider whether their holiday plans are in keeping with the latest recommendations from health officials, Trudeau added.
Live updates: British Columbia orders closures due to COVID
VICTORIA, British Columbia — The Canadian Pacific Coast province of British Columbia is closing bars, nightclubs and gyms because of the omicron coronavirus variant. Starting at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centers and dance studios will have to close, and all seated events will be reduced to 50% capacity. Indoor gatherings, including weddings, are being cancelled. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday the risk posed by omicron is “fundamentally different” than other variants and it more easily infects those who are vaccinated or have had COVID-19.
"As we look at Christmas and the holidays coming, people need to be listening to public health advice and making decisions that minimize their risks," Trudeau added.
"I think we've all learned an awful lot about how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, and I know Canadians are going to be thoughtful about everything we can do to keep the numbers down, because nobody wants to have another winter in which our hospitals and our front-line health workers are getting close to overwhelmed."
According to Tam's latest COVID-19 projections, Canada is currently seeing a Delta variant-driven resurgence of COVID-19 cases. However, if infections keep rising and Omicron takes hold, that variant could outpace Delta and drive infections up to 26,600 a day by mid-January.
“Although this forecast is concerning, we are reminded that models only show future possibilities – and that with fast and appropriate action, we can avoid a worst-case scenario trajectory as we have done in the past,” Tam said, speaking on Friday.
COVID-19: Isolation rules for being relaxed with the Omicron variant?
The Ministry of Health reflects on evolving the rules of isolation for contact cases, facing the risk of a society paralyzed by a more contagious but less dangerous variant.
“The speed of Omicron transmission and potential for strong resurgence means we must approach the coming weeks with an abundance of caution and at the same time be prepared to act quickly to control spread at the first sign of rapidly accelerating cases.”
Canada reported more than 4,600 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases over 32,000. Since the vaccination campaign began, over 80 per cent of reported cases have been among the unvaccinated, while just over eight per cent of cases were reported among the vaccinated.
Over 76 per cent of the Canadian population -- including those not yet eligible -- is fully vaccinated, and 80 per cent have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Over 86 per cent of those over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated, while just shy of 90 per cent of those over 12 have at least one dose.
-- with files from Global News' Aaron D'Andrea
A look at the latest COVID-19 developments in Canada .
A look at the latest COVID-19 news in Canada: — Canada's health minister says he expects the country to reach a time in the COVID-19 pandemic when provinces consider implementing a broader vaccine mandate to counter rising cases. Jean-Yves Duclos told a COVID-19 briefing on Friday that such a measure was not currently being contemplated in Canada, but his personal opinion was that the country would get there at some point. Given how fragile the health-care system is in Canada and its aging population, Duclos said he thinks that type of measure will be considered by provinces over the next weeks and months.