'I think it’s just a matter of when': Medical officer of health expects Omicron variant to hit Waterloo Region
Region of Waterloo Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang says she fully expects the new Omicron variant to hit Waterloo Region.
"Although no local cases have been identified yet, I would not be surprised to hear of cases in Waterloo Region at any time," Dr. Wang said during a COVID-19 community update on Friday.
She says it’s unlikely the variant hasn’t been detected here yet because Public Health Ontario has been doing genomic testing of all COVID-19 samples. However, Wang adds there is about a one week lag from when Public Health Ontario receives a case and when it's sampled.
Dr. Wang reiterated it's no longer a question of 'if' the Omicron variant will arrive in the region.
"I think it’s just a matter of when," Dr. Wang said.
She added that when Omicron cases are detected locally, the region won't go back to ground zero because there is enough vaccine supply, and the right resources in place to combat it.
COVID-19 CASES AMONG CHILDREN
During the update, Dr. Wang said cases are happening more frequently in unvaccinated people, including children.
Dr. Wang said she anticipates the rising number of cases in school-aged children will continue until more of them are immunized.
Public health says more than 83 per cent of eligible residents aged five and older with received their first dose, while 79 per cent of eligible residents five and older are fully vaccinated.
As of Thursday, 8,613 doses have been administered to children five to 11 years old.
NOTABLE OVERALL TRENDS
When it comes to overall trends, Dr. Wang says waste water data shows the virus is widespread in the region, but public health is making progress toward administering third doses, with 24,000 shots already given.
The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the region is 34 per 100,000 each week.