COVID-19: mix of optimism and caution in Canada’s forecasts

Across Canada, a mix of optimism and caution is emerging as provinces and territories revise their strategies to weather the latest wave of the pandemic.

In Saskatchewan, where increased hospital admissions and staffing shortages due to COVID-19 are a growing concern, the provincial health authority said it is considering redeploying staff from other government departments to strengthen the health system.

Next door in Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney says there are signs the province has “reached and passed” the peak of COVID-19 cases in the fifth wave. But he still warns that hospitalizations – currently at record highs – will continue to rise and put more pressure on an already overwhelmed healthcare system.

In order to deal with this scenario, the province says it will create new pandemic response units in Edmonton and Calgary.

More than 2,100 new COVID cases were reported in British Columbia on Thursday as the province announced that 200,000 COVID-19 test kits will be distributed to elementary and secondary schools to try to keep them open.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said this week he was confident the latest COVID wave fueled by the Omicron variant had now peaked. However, Dr. Gerald Evan – one of Ontario’s COVID advisers – warned that Ford was moving too soon with its plan to start easing health restrictions in late January.

Quebec’s health ministry on Thursday reported a slight drop in COVID hospitalizations, its first since Dec. 16. But unlike Ontario, Premier Francois Legault said the situation in his province’s hospitals remains too fragile to begin easing restrictions that have kept gyms, bars and entertainment venues closed. since December.

In Atlantic Canada, there are glimmers of optimism, with Newfoundland and Labrador announcing that K-12 students will resume in-class learning on Tuesday, and Prince Edward Island reporting that COVID-19 recoveries currently exceed new cases.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 21, 2022.

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