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article imageYounger people in Canada being hit hard by variants of COVID-19

By Karen Graham     Apr 6, 2021 in Health
Toronto - Canadian public health officials say a rapidly spreading variant likely has now replaced the original Covid-19 virus in many parts of the country, and new variants are making younger people sicker and sending more to the hospital.
From Ontario and Quebec to British Columbia and Alberta, Canadian health officials are struggling to contain the highly contagious P.1. coronavirus variant from Brazil, and the B.1.1.7 variant from the UK, and epidemiologists say the country’s relatively slow vaccination rollout could leave it vulnerable to a wider spread, according to the Washington Post.
"This is a reminder that COVID-19 can impact people of all ages, and severe illness can occur at any age," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, per CTV News Canada.
Provinces are reporting increasing numbers of younger people being admitted to hospitals that soon need ICU care, Dr. Tam said Tuesday. "Many of them deteriorate quite quickly and have to be admitted to the ICU."
On average, there have been 6,100 new cases of COVID-19 a day over the last week, and 31 deaths, up from 4,600 new cases and 26 deaths a week earlier. Most worrisome is the hospitalization numbers, and the share of hospitalized patients who need critical care.
"This isn't the news any of us wanted, but hospitalizations are surging, ICU beds are filling up, variants are spreading and even people who had convinced themselves they didn't need to be concerned are getting sick," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference Tuesday, adding this is a "very serious" third wave of the pandemic.
Ontario has been on lockdown since December 26  with restrictions tighter in Toronto  seen here when...
Ontario has been on lockdown since December 26, with restrictions tighter in Toronto, seen here when it locked down November 23
Geoff Robins, AFP/File
In Toronto, public health officials ordered all elementary and secondary schools to stop in-person learning and shift to remote learning, effective Wednesday, as they try to "reverse the surge of infection that the province currently faces," Toronto Public Health said.
The province of Ontario, whose capital is Toronto, has already initiated a month-long shutdown that is expected to last for at least a month in response to rising COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations.
Provincial officials are debating new and more restrictive measures, including a stay-at-home order, as its ICU capacity is increasingly strained. According to CNN, that order will be effective from April 7 to April 18 and may be extended.
"Current circumstances require that difficult decisions must be taken locally to protect all those in our school communities, including students, teachers, and staff," Toronto Public Health said.
The latest data from Johns Hopkins University shows Canada with 1,017,130 confirmed coronavirus cases and 23,083 deaths.
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