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Ontario’s top science adviser says small COVID-19 bump likely from holiday gatherings

Dr. Peter Jüni. Global News

The scientific director of the panel advising Ontario on COVID-19 says cases in the province might rise a bit after the holiday weekend, but it won’t fundamentally change the trajectory of the sixth wave.

Dr. Peter Juni says there may be “a little bit of a bump” in cases following holidays such as Easter, Passover and Ramadan, which is ongoing.

He says wastewater data shows a possible peak, the number of health-care workers testing positive for COVID-19 has plateaued, and test positivity has also plateaued.

Read more: Ontario ‘well into’ sixth wave of the pandemic: COVID-19 Science Advisory Table

Juni says the sixth wave will likely either stay on a plateau or start decreasing because of a high level of immunity from vaccines and recent infections as well as warmer weather allowing for more outdoor activities, which have a lower risk of transmission.

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He says next week’s data will reflect the impacts of gatherings over the long weekend.

Ontario’s case and contact management system is experiencing issues, but there were 1,073 new COVID-19 cases logged Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'Director of Ontario Science Advisory Table reflects on role ahead of stepping down'
Director of Ontario Science Advisory Table reflects on role ahead of stepping down

With PCR testing eligibility restricted, Juni says multiplying the daily case count right now by 20 would give an accurate picture.

He had previously suggested a multiplier of 10, but he says while a wave is at a possible peak, a multiplier of 20 is more accurate.

Read more: Ontario COVID update: 1,662 people in hospital with the virus, 203 in intensive care

Ontario reported 1,662 people in hospital Wednesday with COVID-19, up nearly 12 per cent from the previous day.

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The province also reported 203 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, a slight decrease from 206 on Tuesday.

The province recorded 28 new deaths from the virus. The test positivity rate was 16.8.

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