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Future waves of COVID-19 likely as Canada undergoes "period of transition": Tam

COVID-19 is still circulating widely and the risk of re-emergence remains, Dr. Theresa Tam said
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Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — Canada's chief public health officer warned Friday the country is in a period of pandemic transition that might see further waves of COVID-19 cases this year.

"We anticipate that progress will not be linear, and there will likely be more bumps along the way, including resurgence in cases this spring, and likely also in the fall and winter," said Dr. Theresa Tam.

COVID-19 is still circulating widely and the risk of re-emergence remains, Tam said during a news briefing. 

Tam advised Canadians to keep wearing masks and ensure vaccinations are up to date due to the risk of a rise in cases and in light of reduced public health measures.

Canada is observing a steady increase in the BA.2 variant of COVID-19, and ongoing genomic surveillance will remain crucial for monitoring variants of concern, she said.

Keeping an eye on wastewater trends can also be a helpful tool for monitoring COVID-19 transmission in communities, Tam said.

An increase in in-person activities, the presence of the BA.2 variant and waning immunity might have played a part in increase in transmission.

Tam said that as of Thursday, daily average case counts had increased by 28 per cent nationally, suggesting a resurgence is underway.

A rise in hospitalizations could therefore be seen in the country, Tam said, noting that these trends may vary by region.

But she added Canadians are now in a better position to live with the virus, and the overall effect on the health-care system might be more manageable due to high immunity in the population from vaccination and recent infection.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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