Canada reports 11 cases of Omicron variant, says severe COVID trends could rise

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OTTAWA — Canada has discovered a total of 11 cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 and severe illness trends across the country could start to rise again, chief public health officer Theresa Tam told reporters on Friday.

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“The need for heightened vigilance remains, regardless of which variant is circulating,” she said. All the cases involved people who had recently travelled abroad.

Ottawa announced last week it will require people arriving by air from all nations except the United States to take a COVID-19 test and expanded a ban on travellers from southern Africa to cover 10 nations.

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Toronto Public Health on Thursday announced a COVID-19 outbreak at the provincially run Toronto East Detention Centre with one suspected case of the Omicron variant.

“Currently severe illness trends have leveled off, but are still elevated and could begin to rise again, unless we keep infection rates down,” Tam said.

Separately, the national advisory board on immunizations recommended that all adults above 50 should receive a booster shot six months after completion of a vaccine series.

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