Omicron confirmed in Durham as Ontario reports 959 new COVID-19 cases

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The province’s hospitals are caring for 296 COVID-19 patients

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Ontario has confirmed five cases of omicron but more are expected.

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Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said the province’s dominant COVID-19 strain is Delta, but the Omicron situation remains dynamic and he expects more cases and possibly outbreaks.

The five individuals who tested positive for the new variant of concern (VOC) — four in ottawa and one in Durham Region — had travelled on different flights, with some vaccinated and some not, or had come in contact with a traveller.

Moore said he believes it’s likely that the existing vaccines will provide some protection against Omicron but he’s still awaiting more scientific data.

Anyone who arrived recently from “risk” countries in sourthern Africa must get a COVID test and self-quarantine for 14 days, he said.

“The Omicron variant reminds us that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over,” Moore said, urging residents to follow the public health measures. “We have a tough winter ahead of us.”

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On Thursday, the province reported 959 new cases of COVID-19 — the third time in a week that the daily tally has topped 900 cases.

“Individuals who are not fully vaccinated represent 23.5% of Ontario’s total population & amount to 469 of Ontario’s 959 new reported cases,” Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted. “61 cases are in individuals with an unknown vaccination status.”

That means almost half the cases — 429 — were in individuals known to be double vaccinated.

The province’s hospitals are caring for 296 COVID-19 patients, including 155 critically-ill patients in intensive care and 90 on ventilators.

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Six additional deaths brought the pandemic’s toll in the province to 10,005 lives lost, after one death was removed from the list Thursday.

Ontario public health data provided information on COVID-19 reinfections between Nov. 1-20 based on age with 20 cases in the newborn to age four group, nine cases in the five to 11 age group, 37 cases in 12 to 19 age group, 182 cases in the 20 to 39 age group, 100 cases in the 40 to 59 age group, 34 cases in the 60 to 79 age group, and 10 cases in individuals aged 80 and over.

New cases reported Thursday were scattered throughout Ontario with 118 cases in Toronto, 91 in Windsor-Essex, 75 each in Peel and Simcoe Muskoka, and 59 cases in Ottawa.

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