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Bump in COVID-19 cases 'not unexpected' as public health measures lifted, Tam says

OTTAWA — Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says increased COVID-19 transmission is "not unexpected" as public health measures are lifted and cases pick up internationally.
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Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam is seen via videoconference as Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos looks on during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic and the omicron variant, in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. Tam says increased COVID-19 transmission is "not unexpected" as public health measures are lifted and cases pick up internationally. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says increased COVID-19 transmission is "not unexpected" as public health measures are lifted and cases pick up internationally. 

Tam says the number of new cases of the virus have started to level off after weeks of decline. 

In Canada, the daily average number of people in hospital with COVID-19 declined by 11 per cent since last week, and the number of people in intensive care declined by 14 per cent. 

The spread of COVID-19 abroad has been partially blamed on BA.2, a sublineage of the Omicron variant that has been dubbed "stealth Omicron."

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says the spread of BA.2 seems to be highest in places where booster vaccine coverage is low and fewer people were infected with Omicron in the last wave.

In Canada, Tam says BA.2 is spreading relatively slowly and does not appear to be more severe than other variants. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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