TORONTO, Canada, (Reuters) – Ontario is in the sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic driven by the highly transmissible BA.2 sub-variant of the Omicron coronavirus and hospitalizations are likely to rise over the coming weeks, the most populous Canadian province’s top doctor said on Monday.
“In the last few weeks we have seen an increase in the percent positivity and upward trend in wastewater surveillance and a rise in hospitalizations. These trends are likely to continue for the next several weeks,” Ontario’s chief medical officer Kieran Moore said at a briefing.
However, Moore said a rise in infections was not unexpected as authorities lifted health restrictions after impact from the original Omicron variant started to wane, adding that Ontario now had tools, such as antiviral pills for COVID, to manage the impact on its health case system.
“Antiviral treatments, including the oral antiviral Paxlovid can help to reduce hospitalizations, protect hospital capacity, and protect patients at high risk of severe health outcomes,” Moore said.
The Ontario government expanded the eligibility for COVID antiviral treatments, like Pfizer’s (PFE.N) Paxlovid, to immunocompromised adults and other high-risk individuals earlier on Monday.