Although Ontario is scheduled to lift some restrictions at the end of the month, by no means are we out of the woods. The good news is that we are past the peak that occurred around the end of December; the bad news is that cases have plateaued at a high rate – for Northumberland that’s around an average of 30 new cases per day (see graph below). Worse, that’s an underestimate – the real number is higher. That’s because it only measures the results of PCR testing. Many Omicron cases do not get recorded in official figures. Because of this, the HKPR DHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bocking, says that we should watch other indicators like ICU admissions, outbreaks and hospitalization.
Another measure that has recently got some attention is to inspect sewage! With appropriate equipment, one can see how much virus is in the community – although there is a 7 day lag in getting results. This works well in major Towns or cities but not so well in rural areas where many people use septics. However, last Fall Cobourg started doing these tests and currently these results also point to a plateau – that is, neither going up nor down.
But PCR Tests do give some idea of what’s happening – this graph is for just Northumberland.
Let’s look at hospitalization – see graph below for complete HKPR district (not just Northumberland).
One piece of good news is that outbreaks are trending down. On 14 January, there were 17 outbreaks in Northumberland but now there are 9. You can see a full list of outbreaks here.
Generally, this District has fewer cases than the average for Ontario. Further, it continues to be true that the risk of being hospitalized is much higher if you are not vaccinated. And the number vaccinated in the District is high: 87.0% of adults 18 and over have had 2 doses and 53.6% of adults 18 and over have had 3 doses. You can get doses statistics for the District here.
Currently, the Province is planning to ease restrictions on Jan 31. It’s not known if the plateau is enough to allow this since although cases are down, they are still high compared to late 2021. Details are on this page.