“We’re very much into the fourth wave; five weeks of increasing case counts, increasing quite rapidly. Certainly, this is very much of concern to me.”
Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, says this fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic carries the potential for numerous hospitalizations and ICU admissions. He indicates it will be the hardest on younger people. “It’s going to be much more impacting on those who are unimmunized,” he said. “We have much higher rates of immunization in the older population than the younger population, young adults and youth.”
Gardner points out, with those under age 12 unable to get vaccinated, the need for control measures is just as necessary now as it was before vaccination began. “I think we all need to take to heart the precautions that are in place, for those who are not immunized to come forward and get immunized, those that are eligible by age, and to be fully immunized, and for all of us to abide by the use of masks in indoor public spaces regardless of whether or not we’ve been immunized.”
“Those who are immunized are much more protected than those who aren’t, but it’s still not 100% protection and for immunized individuals who become cases, they are just as capable of transmitting to other people as people who aren’t immunized,” added Gardner. “People need to take their precautions, exercise physical distancing, and mask use in indoor spaces and abide by the gathering limits that are in place at this time.”
With rising case counts across Simcoe-Muskoka and throughout Ontario, Dr. Gardner says the fall may not be pleasant. “I’m very concerned that it will be dominated by the fourth wave,” he said. “We could have potentially a very large number of cases and hospital admissions that could, in particular, impact younger people.”
“I am concerned about the impact that all of that would have on our freedoms and the potential for more public health control measures. It would be very unfortunate. So overall, I would say that I’m quite concerned,” he concluded.
On Tuesday, Public Health Ontario confirmed 486 new cases of COVID-19, of which 114 were fully vaccinated. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported 21 new cases of COVID on Tuesday.