According to Federal Public Health | “Possible” rise in COVID-19 cases this summer

COVID-19 transmission indicators are stabilizing or declining across the country, but a spike is “possible” in the summer with the arrival of the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the Omicron family, federal public health warns.

Updated yesterday at 2:23pm.

Frédéric Lacroix Couture
The Canadian Press

These variants have a “growth advantage” over others and appear to be immune, said Chief Federal Public Health Officer Dr.D Theresa Tam, at a press conference Friday to provide an update on the COVID-19 and monkeypox situation.

The federal agency observed that the BA.4 and BA.5 have been gaining ground in recent weeks. This trend can also be observed in Europe, particularly in Portugal, where BA.5 has become dominant and has led to an increase in infections.

Although summer is usually synonymous with a slowdown in the virus, “it’s possible we could have a rebound here in Canada,” said Deputy Public Health Administrator of Canada Dright Howard Njoo.

“We are starting to see a percentage increase in the BA.4 and BA.5 variants. This is something that must follow, “he added, without however being able to indicate the regions where there is currently increased activity of the COVID-19 in the country.

The Drs Tam and Njoo urged staying prepared for a resurgence and taking personal protective measures like vaccinations as there will be more opportunities to gather during the summer season.

In addition, the Dright Njoo confirmed that Health Canada is currently reviewing a request from Moderna to give its COVID-19 vaccine to children under the age of five. A decision should be made in the coming weeks.

The United States on Friday approved vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for infants as young as six months old.

Pfizer Canada emailed that it was preparing a file for submission to Canadian authorities, but was unable to provide a deadline for submitting its application.

168 cases of monkeypox

Regarding monkeypox, Canada had 168 cases as of June 17, the vast majority of which have been in Quebec with 141 reported infections. Ontario follows with 21 cases; then come Alberta and British Columbia with four and two cases, respectively, the two chief medical officers said.

“Local health authorities are telling us that the rate of growth appears to be slowing, but we need to monitor the situation over the coming weeks,” said Dr.D tam

All of the cases for which information was provided to the Public Health Agency of Canada are males between the ages of 20 and 69, and some involve sexual contact with other males.

Still, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, can contract or spread the virus, federal authorities have warned.

Holding numerous events and festivals, particularly around Pride Month, will be an opportunity to raise public awareness of the disease in order to break the chain of spread.

“We are looking at all the ways we can contain the transmission. One of the most important things we are doing is raising awareness both in affected communities and among healthcare workers,” said Dr.D tam

Messages to avoid stigmatizing a community are also important, she said.

Transmission can occur through close contact with an infected person or personal items they use, such as bedding.

In Quebec this week, public health extended vaccination to men who want to have sex with other men. So far, it was reserved for people who had contact with people infected with the virus.

The Regional Director of Public Health for Montreal, DD Mylène Drouin said Tuesday that metropolitan Quebec is the epicenter of monkeypox in America, with 126 cases.

This article was produced with financial support from the Meta Fellowships and The Canadian Press for News.

The World Health Organization will convene an emergency panel of experts next week to determine whether this escalating outbreak should be considered a global health emergency.

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This article was produced with financial support from the Meta Fellowships and The Canadian Press for News.

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