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Waterloo Region past Omicron peak but hospitals remain under pressure: top doc

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Waterloo Region’s top doctor says the area has passed the peak of the Omicron wave of COVID-19 but the area is not out of the woods yet.

“We are in a better situation now that we are past the peak of Omicron wave,” Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, medical of health, told reporters on Friday morning.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Wellesley will soon cease operations

“Vaccination and public health measures have reduced the most severe impacts of the Omicron variants.”

She says indicators such as wastewater testing show that we are not finished just yet.

“The decline continues to be slower than the ascent, Wang said.

“Wastewater data up to February 22nd indicated that the COVID 19 wastewater signal continues to slowly decline but remains high relative to previous waves.”

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In addition, while area hospitals continue to see a decline in the number of COVID-19 patients they are treating, as of Thursday, there were still 43 patients, with 14 needing intensive care.

Those numbers are low compared with much of the year but still nearly double what the region was experiencing in December 2021, when the month closed with a high of 24 patients, including eight in intensive care.

“There continues to be a slow decline in hospitalizations and admissions to the ICU. It will take longer to relieve the pressure in our hospitals and across the health-care system,” Wang said.

Read more: Ontario COVID numbers — 1,003 people in hospital, 297 in intensive care

Despite the high admission rates in hospitals, we are about a week away from the province lifting some of the vaccination mandates and restrictions.

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The doctor is hoping that area residents will not treat this as a free-for-all.

“With the loosening of further measures on March the 1st, more people may become infected, which is why I continued to recommend a cautious approach to resuming activities, including getting a booster dose and continuing to wear a mask in indoor settings and avoiding crowded places and enclosed spaces,” she said.

She also continued to recommend that people get their COVID-19 vaccinations in order.

“We’ve been on a slow and steady decline in COVID-19 transfer a few weeks now. The virus is still with us, though, and may bring new challenges,” she said.

“Vaccination remains our best defence against current and future variants.”

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