Ontario and Quebec have announced that they are now seeing a seventh wave of COVID-19 infections, although case numbers are uncertain due to a lack of reporting. Health Canada reports 21,317 new cases for the week ending July 8, but acknowledges that this is an underestimate (https://health-infobase.canada.ca/src/data/covidLive/Epidemiological-summary-of-COVID-19-cases-in-Canada-Canada.ca.pdf). The Northwest Territories and Nunavut no longer publish COVID case numbers while Saskatchewan posts case numbers only once a month.
Recorded infections were most common in persons aged 20-29 years (21.9%), 30-39 years (20.8%), 0-11 years (16.9%) and 40-49 years (12.0%). An estimated 17 million Canadians were infected with the Omicron variant between December 2021 and May 2022, according to the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (www.covid19immunitytaskforce.ca/the-omicron-tsunami-analysis-of-data-from-blood-testing-suggests-over-17-million-canadians-were-infected-with-omicron-in-only-5-months/).
There were 127 COVID-related deaths across Canada for the week ending July 8. This likely overestimates the number of deaths since B.C. records all deaths within 30 days of a positive COVID test as due to COVID regardless of cause of death. Of the estimated 42,171 COVID deaths recorded to date, 60.3% have been in persons aged >80 years, 21.5% in those aged 70-79 years, and 10.8% in those aged 60-69 years.
Between June 27 and July 4, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital increased 9% to 3,552 cases, which includes 179 cases in ICU. This is a higher number of hospitalizations than was seen during the first wave in March/April 2020.
All COVID-19 samples sequenced were the Omicron variant (period ending June 12, the most recent data available), of which 68.4% were the BA.2 subvariant and 22.2% were the BA.5 subvariant. Results were based on 2,549 tests, a decrease in testing of 48% since April. More recent reports from Ontario have indicated that about 60% of samples are now the BA.5 subvariant (www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-covid-19-ba5-wave-1.6512283).
As of June 19, 81.9% of Canadians had completed a primary series of COVID vaccinations and 48.9% had received one booster injection. For the fall, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends a booster shot for all at-risk groups; a booster may also be offered to individuals aged 12-64 years. Quebec is now recommending a fourth dose for all persons aged >60 years.