“This is not the news that any of us want, but hospital admissions are increasing, intensive care beds are full, variables are proliferating, and even people who have convinced themselves that they don’t need to worry get sick,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin said Trudeau said at a press conference on Tuesday, This is a “very dangerous” third wave of the epidemic.
Public Health Canada said acceptance of intensive care units rose 18% in the past week alone, and the new variants are placing a “heavy burden” on hospital capacity.
“Many of them deteriorate very quickly and have to be admitted to the ICU immediately, and then they spend a lot of time in the ICU, which means there is an effect on capacity as well,” Tam said.
Although hospitalization has not increased significantly, she said, more patients admitted are now requiring critical care as the variables make them more dangerous.
In Toronto, public health officials have ordered all primary and secondary schools to stop personal learning and switch to distance learning, starting Wednesday, as they try to “reverse the wave of infections the county is currently facing,” according to the Toronto Public Health Authority.
Ontario, and its capital, Toronto, are discussing new and more restrictive measures, including a stay-at-home request, as pressures mount on ICU capacity.
The order will be effective April 7-18, according to the directive issued on Tuesday, and may be extended.
“Current conditions require difficult decisions to be made locally to protect all of those in our school communities, including students, teachers and staff,” said Toronto Public Health Service.
British Columbia has moved to close Whistler ski resort and restrict gatherings in the county, which is now also dealing with the virus outbreak among NHL hockey players with the Vancouver Canucks.
This week, Canada has passed 1 million Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. Tamm described the achievement as a “stark reminder” of all that Canadians have been through.
While the B.1.1.7 variant is now probably the dominant variant in Canada, Tam said her team is also closely monitoring a large outbreak of the P.1 variant, which was first detected in Brazil and is now rising in some western Canada provinces.
British Columbia’s health minister said Monday that the number of cases of the P.1 variant in his province nearly doubled over the Easter weekend.
“The most transmissible variant of Covid-19 will eventually take over,” Adrian Dix said in an update on Monday.
CNN’s Elizabeth Stewart and Teresa Wallerbe contributed to this report.