Coronavirus: Algoma medical officer of health optimistic as Omicron hits plateau

Although the region is not off the hook when it comes to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, Algoma’s medical officer of health says there is cause for optimism.

“We are certainly still in the midst of this increase in Omicron cases, as we have seen across the province,” said Dr. Jennifer Loo. “The good news is that we are no longer seeing that same exponential increase, particularly not only in the high-risk cases that we report, but also in hospitalizations.”

A gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions is expected to begin next week, with a minimum of 21 days between changes to provincial public health measures. Loo said she was fine with that approach.

“For this particular virus, we know that what we are seeing today in terms of illnesses and hospitalizations was likely the result of activities one to two weeks ago,” she said.

“So this 21-day period gives us that buffer to see if the steps we’re taking now are having an effect.”

At the Sault area hospital, officials said they are preparing for the eventual return of elective surgeries and procedures as it recovers from its latest outbreak of COVID-19.

“We have a high number of employees in their 40s who test positive for COVID, but we are managing,” said Sue Roger, vice president of clinical programs and chief nursing officer.

“It appears to be disseminated throughout the organization after the original or initial outbreak in the emergency room.”

Loo said we are now in a better position compared to March 2020, when there were no vaccines and limited treatments for COVID-19 – and when the only way to stop the spread was restrictive lockdowns .

“It’s been a rough start to January for many, but hopefully with the snow and cold easing there will be better days ahead,” she said.