Canadians could be in a better position ahead of this holiday weekend. Unfortunately, the premature lifting of public health protections like masking and the failure to invest in indoor air quality has led to higher rates of infection compared to Thanksgiving weekends of past years.
More cases compared to Thanksgiving weekend 2020 & 2021
Cases are currently much higher, which is concerning as we usually see cases take off after the Thanksgiving weekend (see graph above). With no protections in place, kids in school, less testing/surveillance, and with new variants being detected, this may set us up for a difficult fall. This coming at a time where more kids than ever are getting sick, healthcare/frontline workers are exhausted, and hospitals across the country are above capacity with some emergency rooms shutting down. Every resident in Canada needs access to health services at some point: preventing Covid infection/related illness is one of the best things we can do to keep healthcare running and support our healthcare professionals.
Shorter re-infection time with omicron variants.
There had been some information sent to some schools in Atlantic Canada suggesting that reinfection wasn’t possible or likely within 90 days: THIS IS INCORRECT FOR OMICRON. We know re-infections can occur with several weeks and a recent study has shown that these quick re-infections aren’t a rare occurrence.
The graph above shows that a significant number of re-infections occur less than 10 weeks following the last Covid-19 infection. It also shows that the BA.2 variant represents a lot of these quick re-infections. The weekly variant breakdown in the table below shows that BA.2 is the fastest growing variant in Canada right now. While it represents a smaller proportion in this table, it is important to remember that this represents swabs collected 3-4 weeks ago. There is usually a 3 week turn around when sending samples to the National Lab in Winnipeg to be sequenced.
The good news is that having this information means that we are in a better position to take what precautions we feel necessary for ourselves and our families.
Newfoundland & Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Actions we can take to stay safe this Thanksgiving Weekend.
Considering virtual or a mix of virtual/in-person so that everyone can feel safe and included.
Try to respect that we don’t all have the same risk factors of severe outcome or comfort level. Whatever you believe, I’m sure everyone wants their family and friends to feel comfortable and safe during gatherings. We’ve lost enough to Covid-19 already.
If you have concerns, try to bring them up with family before an event and discuss in terms of how you feel about your personal risk and comfort level. Try to find common ground because family gatherings shouldn’t be political. You don’t need to believe all the same things to connect: it’s just about respecting the concerns of vulnerable family members and adapting.
Let’s make finding common ground the #NewNormal in this era of “living with Covid”. Clean air, staying home if sick, and staying socially connected with loved ones is something most everyone can agree on. #StaySafe!
The Covid-19 situation in Atlantic Canada remains concerning with high infection rates that continues to impact health, social, and frontline essential services. There seems to be an increasing amount of hospital/ER closures (I haven’t seen anyone tracking specific data on this), It is clear that regular ER closures or limits to critical life-saving care is becoming the norm. In Eastern Canada where many families don’t have a primary care physician, it means they might not have access to healthcare until their situation becomes an emergency. Despite what some politicians may say, privatization is not the answer. Private clinics still require staff at a time where there is a severe shortage: This means they will have to poach staff from the public system, further contributing to staff shortages in other service areas and ultimately lead to increased MSI cost for Government.
Vaccines have provided some protection against severe outcomes, but they are clearly not the magic bullet we had hoped for. Covid-19 continues to evolve and in the past week at least 1 of 2 new variants of concern have showed increased immune evasion such that many treatments are no longer effective according to early studies.
What remains highly effective in reducing transmission despite Covid-19 viral evolution is masking and improved air quality through filtration and ventilation. Despite the growing body of evidence on the importance and effectiveness of masking and air quality, Governments have yet to use these tool to control Covid-19 transmission so that we can all return to a safe new normal. The consequences of this failure is becoming even more apparent in the case data as discussed below. The Provinces received a LOT of funding to improve air quality, particularly in schools. I’m sure we can all agree that better air quality and keeping kids in safe schools is a good thing.
Given how highly political social and health care have become, this may require a bigger public discussion with elected officials, who are there to represent us. Please write your MP’s and MLA/MHA’s to express your concerns on how public health is currently being managed by political agendas and contrary to science and evidence-based policy. Contact information can be found below:
The current Covid-19 situation is currently worse this year when compared to past years. This is true for Atlantic Canada and the rest of the country as described by Bill Comeau HERE. Weekly data updates from Canada Covid-19 resources are also concerning and can be viewed HERE in detail or as summarized below by province. More detailed information is also available through other provincial groups like PoP (protect our province) found under the advocacy link above.
If you are a data/stats/Epi enthusiast with professional experience and want to give further context to your regions, please feel free to message!
Newfoundland & Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Overall Forecast for ALL Atlantic Provinces heading into late fall is STORMY.