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Ontario health minister, top doctor hold COVID-19 update Wednesday | CBC News

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Ontario’s minister of health is providing an update on key public health data and trends on Wednesday, one day after hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 in the province topped 4,000 for the first time.

Christine Elliott is joined at the news conference by Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, and Matthew Anderson, CEO of Ontario Health. 

This morning, Ontario reported there are 4,132 people with COVID-19 in hospital, down 51 from the day before. 

According to the province, 53.4 per cent of those patients were admitted to hospital because of COVID-19 while 46.6 per cent were admitted for other reasons and tested positive once there. Doctors and public health experts, though, say so-called “incidental” cases are still placing immense strain on the wider system.

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Moreover, there were 589 patients with COVID-19 in the province’s ICUs, marking the highest point since June 5 — shortly after the peak of the third wave of the pandemic in Ontario. The province says 82.1 per cent of those people are in ICU for reasons directly linked to COVID-19, while 17.9 per cent were admitted for other reasons.

Though ICU numbers continue to rise, there may be some cause for cautious optimism. In an exchange on Twitter Tuesday, Anthony Dale, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, said the rate of new admissions to critical care “does appear to be decelerating.”

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Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said yesterday the province is set to make an announcement later this week about reducing COVID-19 restrictions.

He told Ottawa radio station CFRA that he hates putting public health measures in place and that there will soon be “some positive news” on that front.

The government announced on Jan. 3 that due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant driving up COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, restrictions would be placed on businesses until at least Jan. 26.

Restaurants were ordered closed for indoor dining. Museums, zoos and other such attractions were shut down, as were gyms, indoor recreation facilities, cinemas and indoor concert venues. Retail settings and personal care services were capped at 50 per cent capacity.

Schools were also moved online for two weeks, and classes are resuming in person this week.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said last week that he is watching for a peak or plateau of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and he can’t guarantee the province will be ready to ease the restrictions on the 26th.

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