Experts say Ontario needs to look at pivoting its COVID-19 response as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads.
The province’s expert advisory group estimates that Omicron makes up about 11 per cent of cases and is expected to become dominant within weeks.
Based on trends seen in Omicron-dominant regions, one infectious diseases physician says strategies must be developed for scenarios where up to 10,000 people or more are testing positive for the virus each day.
Dr. Zain Chagla says Ontario should plan how to prioritize resources in case that happens, because the current approach to testing and tracing the contacts of every infected person would not work with so many cases.
He says there should also be a plan for the possibility that a large percentage of the essential workforce could be forced to isolate after virus exposures.
Epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Kwong says Ontario’s booster dose plan was based on the Delta variant, but the expected rapid spread of Omicron could mean vulnerable people are exposed before they get a third shot.
Kwong says priority should go to quickly vaccinating the vulnerable with booster doses in the coming weeks to keep the health system afloat.
© 2021 The Canadian Press