TORONTO – Ontario’s seventh wave of COVID-19 has reached its peak, the province’s chief medical officer of health said Friday.

Dr. Kieran Moore said in an interview that key indicators are either peaking or already trending down.

“I think we’ve already started the losing streak,” he said.

“It’s always easier to look back and say where we were, but from our point of view today, it’s certainly leveled off and we’re seeing a decrease in the total number of people hospitalized, stabilization in the ICU, which are usually late indicators, since At the provincial level, residual waters are declining”.

Public Health Ontario says COVID-19 case rates decreased at 22 of Ontario’s 34 health units during the week ending July 30, with positivity percentage declining slightly week-over-week, and hospital admissions they decreased to 306 compared to 463 the previous week.

There were 46 COVID-19 deaths reported during the week ending July 30, compared to 75 the previous week.

Moore said he anticipates the overall risk and impact to the health sector will continue to decline through August.

Looking ahead to the fall, a new wave of COVID-19 may not be as bad as Moore would have predicted a few months ago, he said, though cooler weather pushing more indoor activities increases the risk.

Many Ontarians have already been infected with the Omicron variant (seroprevalence studies suggest that half the population has natural immunity, he said) and that, combined with high vaccination rates and the fact that a worrying new variant, bodes well, Moore said.

“It will be difficult for a very similar virus to spread in our populations,” he said.

“So we’re going around the world with Public Health Ontario, the Public Health Agency of Canada to try to see if there’s a new variant that poses a risk to us. But we see a period of calm in the coming weeks and months, because we can’t see a new threat on the horizon right now.”

There is still a risk of reinfection with Omicron, Moore said, but people who have been vaccinated and infected are much better protected than people with an infection but no vaccination.

Ontarians over the age of 18 have been eligible for a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for three weeks; it was previously only available to people over the age of 60, as well as indigenous or immunocompromised adults. Just under 16 percent of Ontario adults have received four doses, Moore said.

In the particularly vulnerable population of people over 80, about 61 percent have received a fourth dose, Moore said.

In addition, vaccines for children under the age of five became available a week ago, and Moore said 9,000 have received their first shot. That’s about one percent of Ontario’s total population in that age group.

“August was anticipated to be low numbers as parents are busy over the holidays, and they certainly anticipate those numbers to increase as we head into fall,” he said.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 5, 2022.

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