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Current COVID wave will not reach Omicron levels: Public Health

Current COVID wave will not reach Omicron levels: Public Health

According to Hamilton Public Health projections, the current resurgence of COVID, while concerning, will have nowhere near the impact of the Omicron wave in January. In a Scarsin forecast presented at Hamilton Board of Health today, staff said the seven-day average of cases could approach 500 in late May to Early June before beginning to decrease. The seven-day average of new cases in January was over 1,200.

Active outbreaks are considerably lower now than in January—sitting around 15 currently compared to over 100 at the peak of Omicron. The data suggests the Omicron variant is only about 36 percent as serious as delta.

Daily COVID hospital admissions have risen from 1.7 for the week ending March 21 to 2.7 per day as of April 1st, but ICU admissions are relatively unchanged since mid-February.

One concerning piece of information is the stalling of vaccination in children aged 5-11. Only 53 percent have had one dose and only 36 percent have had a second shot. Asked why the uptake has been so low, staff suggested parents seem to be more vaccine hesitant for this age group, and are influenced by the fact that so few children in this age category are getting sick.

Staff are planning for the return of Public Health to its pre-pandemic staffing levels. Prior to the pandemic there were just under 400 workers in Public Health. By January there were 900 workers with about 650 devoted to COVID. By March staffing was down to 683, with only about half of the number of workers devoted to pre-pandemic public health programs as before. Going forward, the department expects to again have a full complement working on base Public health programs, supported by a reduced contingent temporary staff who will continue working on COVID and clearing up the department’s backlog.

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