Medical Technology

Omicron Cases in Ontario Could Soon Swamp Critical Care

OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Omicron COVID-19 variant is spreading rapidly in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, and could overwhelm intensive care units early next month without prompt intervention, a panel of experts announced on Thursday.

The panel released modeling which said increased vaccination alone will not be enough to combat Omicron. Instead, it called for public health measures that cut contacts of people by 50% and ensure the speedy distribution of booster doses.

“Omicron transmits extremely quickly … without prompt intervention, intensive care unit occupancy could rise to unsustainable levels in early January,” said the modeling.

Ontario, which accounts for just under 40% of Canada’s population, earlier reported 2,421 new daily cases, almost twice as many as a week earlier.

“Our hospitals will still face incredibly strong pressures. This will happen during a time when health professionals are exhausted or burned out from previous waves.” Steini Brown, head Ontario’s science table.

“We will need … strict restrictions that will limit contacts. This is a difficult decision,” he told a briefing.

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