'Remain vigilant': Ontario's top doctor says province could see rise of COVID-19 subvariant 'Kraken'
Ontario’s top doctor is urging residents to “remain vigilant” as some regions see a rise of the “Kraken” subvariant of COVID-19.
In a statement issued Thursday morning, Dr. Kieran Moore said the highly transmissible XBB.1.5 variant is “not associated with a change in severity of illness.”
“But due to its increased transmissibility, more individuals may get infected as it becomes the main variant in Ontario,” he said.
This is the first time the chief medical officer of health has addressed the new subvariant, which the World Health Organization says is a sub lineage of Omicron.
- Download our app to get local alerts on your device
- Get the latest local updates right to your inbox
“We must remain vigilant as many jurisdictions across the province continue to see a rise in the number of cases of the more transmissible XBB.1.5 variant of COVID-19,” Moore said in the statement.
“I continue to strongly recommend that everyone stays up to date with their vaccinations as it remains our best defence against COVID-19 and its variants, especially for those at increased risk of severe infection and for anyone who has not received a booster or been infected in the past six months.”
Dr. Fahad Razak, an internist at St. Michaels Hospital and former head of the province’s science table, has said its likely XXB.1.5 will become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Ontario.
"If we follow the U.S. trajectory, that means that this will become the dominant version of the virus circulating probably within just a few weeks in Ontario and across the country," he said last week.
“There is a need, I think, now to recognize that we're probably going to see a surge of infections in the coming weeks and talk about what we can do to reduce infection as much as possible."
The last COVID-19 genomic surveillance report from Public Health Ontario noted the XBB.1.5 subvariant was expected to account for 22.2 per cent of COVID-19 cases by Jan. 25.
At the same time, Moore indicated overall respiratory virus trends—which includes influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus—are continuing to decline after a peak in November.
“The impact on our communities, hospitals and intensive care units is improving,” he said.
More advised Ontarians to stay home when they feel sick, to wash their hands often, and to wear masks in crowded indoor public spaces.
“We have the tools we need to reduce the spread of respiratory illness in our communities, and I am grateful to Ontarians for continuing to utilize them,” Moore added. “These important choices help preserve our hospital capacity to ensure care is always available for those who need it.”
At the same time, when asked if he strongly recommended vaccines and less strongly recommended masking, Moore said that was a “fair assumption.”
Individuals with underlying conditions in particular, however, should continue to mask while inside indoor public spaces such as malls or on transit, Moore said.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Canada makes amendments to foreign homebuyers ban – here's what they look like
Months after Canada's ban on foreign homebuyers took effect on Jan. 1, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has made several amendments to the legislation allowing non-Canadians to purchase residential properties in certain circumstances.
'Leave this with me': Alberta premier heard on call with COVID-19 protester
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, in a leaked cellphone call, commiserated with a COVID-19 protester about his trial while divulging to him there was an internal dispute over how Crown prosecutors were handling COVID-19 cases.
What is the grocery rebate in federal budget 2023? Key questions, answered
To help offset rising living expenses, the Government of Canada has introduced a one-time grocery rebate for low- and modest-income Canadians. Here is what we know about the rebate.
RCMP arrest 5 while executing search warrant at Wet'suwet'en protest camp
RCMP officers executed a search warrant at a protest camp on Wet'suwet'en traditional territory near the under-construction Coastal GasLink pipeline Wednesday.
'Compostable' food packaging may contain hazardous 'forever chemicals': Canadian study
As Canada phases out single-use plastics, more restaurants are opting to use 'compostable' takeout containers. But a new study suggests some of these supposedly eco-friendly containers may pose hazards to our health and the environment.
Could Usain Bolt outrun a 900-pound dinosaur? Physics professor poses the question
A new academic paper pits legendary sprinter Usain Bolt against a 900-pound dinosaur to see who could run a 100-metre distance the fastest.
Recalled in Canada: Change tables over entrapment hazard, hoodies due to risk of choking
Health Canada has issued two recalls, one for change tables over an entrapment hazard and another for bamboo nursing hoodies due to a risk of choking.
Many Canadians like to tell 'white lies' about home-cooked meals: survey
Have you ever had to lie about the quality of a home-cooked meal to protect someone's feelings? According to a new survey by Research Co. you’re not the only one.
Spending to increase economic capacity is fiscally responsible, Freeland says in post-budget defence
Defending her latest federal budget, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said spending that increases economic capacity is fiscally responsible.
Bill 15: Quebec tables legislation to overhaul health system
The CAQ government has unveiled its long-promised plan to improve Quebec's public health network. Tabled at the Quebec legislature Wednesday by Health Minister Christian Dubé, Bill 15 promises a major shakeup.
'I lost a brother': Funeral held for teen who died in Old Montreal fire
Almost two weeks after his death, a funeral was held in Laval Wednesday for a teenager who died in the fire in Old Montreal.
Flooded and fed up: St-Leonard homeowners file class-action suit over heavy rain damages
A group of homeowners in St-Leonard has filed a class-action lawsuit against their borough and the City of Montreal, claiming municipal authorities are to blame for repeated floodings during heavy rain.
Coyote encounter unnerves woman
An evening walk along the trails of Westminster Ponds in southeast London, Ont. turned into a frantic scene for Denise Singh and her two dogs.
Over a dozen dogs 'dumped' across Huron and Perth Counties
More than a dozen dogs were abandoned across Huron and Perth Counties on March 23 and 24, and local dog lovers are furious about it.
2,700 cattle escape $2-million barn fire
Damage is estimated at $2-million after a barn and grass fire in southeast London on Tuesday.
'Fairly emotional for everybody': Teen struck by LRT visits emergency crews who rescued him
Several weeks after a teen was stuck under an LRT train in Kitchener, he’s now up and walking and visited the emergency crews who helped rescue him.
Cambridge municipal election candidate suing city after names left off ballot
A retired political science professor says he was “stunned” by the way the Cambridge municipal election unfolded.
Businesses weigh in on government’s plan to reduce credit card fees
The federal government is touting plans to help small businesses by reducing credit card fees, but some local merchants say while they welcome the measure, the actual impact it will have on their operations will be minimal.
Northern Ont. family ‘ecstatic’ as 25-year-old murder mystery finally solved
Robert Steven Wright was convicted Wednesday of murdering Renee Sweeney, a little more than 25 years after her brutal killing shocked the community.
B.C. man pleads guilty to northern Ont. shooting, Crown drops attempted murder charge
A man who admitted to shooting up a home in Greater Sudbury in 2020 over a drug theft pled guilty Wednesday to reduced charges.
Driver caught travelling 200km/hr on major Ontario highway
A 20-year-old has been charged with careless driving after travelling double the speed limit on a major Ontario highway.
LRT | Stage 2 of Ottawa LRT faces further delay
The long-awaited southern extension to Ottawa's light rail network is facing a further delay, a city committee heard Wednesday.
Truck held together with bungee cord pulled off the road in eastern Ontario
Quinte OPP says officers stopped the vehicle on Trenton-Frankford Road on Wednesday with a bungee rope stretching across the back of the truck.
Migrants' influx helps Cornwall, Ont. labour shortage
Hundreds of migrants, who have crossed the Canadian border at Roxham Road in Quebec and have settled in Cornwall, were on the hunt for jobs on Wednesday.
Chatham pipe band to drum up support with 'Tartan Day' celebration
Chatham’s Branch 642 Royal Canadian Legion Pipe Band is hosting the first ever ‘Tartan Day’ in southwestern Ontario, as the 77-year-old band looks to recruit new members.
Windsor West MPP presses Conservatives over anti-scab legislation
Anti-scab legislation was tabled Wednesday in Queen’s Park by Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky and other members of the NDP which would ban the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout.
Best of Windsor Essex Awards winners announced
The results are in — residents had their say voting on their favourite local hot spots for this year’s Best of Windsor Essex Awards.
Busby Centre braces for higher demand with Salvation Army's meal program ending
The Salvation Army's Barrie Bayside Mission is ending its community meal program as of April 1.
'I have so much rage inside of me,' Veterans angry over war monument vandalism
For the second time in less than a month, vandals targeted a war monument in our area.
Bail hearing for man charged in Elnaz Hajtamiri's alleged assault, kidnapping attempt
Two men facing charges in the alleged assault and failed kidnapping attempt of Ontario woman Elnaz Hajtamiri appeared in court Wednesday, with one seeking to be released from custody just days after his co-accused was granted bail.
N.S. mass shooting inquiry report must deliver 'clear commentary': family lawyer
A lawyer who represents Nova Scotia mass shooting victims' families said in an interview they are hoping "for clear commentary on what things went wrong and what things ought to have been done better or differently."
Cold front to sweep mix of snow, rain across the Maritimes Thursday
A low-pressure system moving north of the St. Lawrence River valley will sweep a cold front across the Maritimes on Thursday.
How Portapique residents past and present are dealing with reminders of the 2020 mass shooting
The eve of the release of the final report from the inquiry into Nova Scotia’s 2020 mass shooting is a reminder for residents of Portapique of their small community’s traumatic past.
‘I started breaking down:’ Friends remember 15-year-old homicide victim
A 15-year-old girl shot to death in the community of Martindale early Tuesday morning, has now been identified by friends and police as Sarah Alexis Jorquera.
Woman in custody, charges pending following Lions Park LRT station stabbing
Calgary police say they've arrested a woman in connection with a stabbing at the Lions Park LRT station that stemmed from a fight between several people.
Lethbridge UCP candidate Torry Tanner's claims against teachers disputed
A United Conservative Party candidate in Lethbridge claims teachers are exposing students to pornography and gender reassignment without parental knowledge.
Manitobans should prepare for a gas price hike according to an expert
Come the weekend, Manitobans will be paying more for gas and the price could climb even higher in the coming weeks and months according to a gas expert.
Brandon pauses public engagement on 30-year vision over 'inappropriate and unsafe behaviour'
The City of Brandon has paused its public consultation on its 30-year plan for the city due to 'inappropriate and unsafe behaviour' from some residents.
Manitoba family launches lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccination
A Manitoba family has launched a lawsuit alleging their 23-year-old son had a stroke days after receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, leaving him legally blind.
'I made it': Inside the addiction and mental health treatment ongoing at old Riverview Hospital site
The Riverview Hospital itself has been closed for more than a decade, but 289 people are currently receiving treatment for mental health, addictions or both at the old site.
City of Vancouver considering requiring grant recipients to be 'respectful' in order to get funding
Vancouver city council has asked staff to shape a policy that would require grant recipients to engage with officials in a "respectful manner," a move that one political scientist says suggests an attempt to prevent or punish criticism.
'A freeze response of shock': Expert weighs in on bystanders not stepping in during fatal Vancouver stabbing
After a man was fatally stabbed outside of a Vancouver Starbucks in front of dozens of witnesses, video of the attack is circulating on social media, raising questions about why nobody stepped in to help.
Online video between Danielle Smith and Artur Pawlowski raises questions over interference
In an online video, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is heard speaking with outspoken Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski, creating questions about her influence on Alberta court cases.
Man found dead in SUV, Edmonton homicide detectives on the case
Police are looking for help in the suspicious death of a man found in a vehicle in north Edmonton Wednesday morning.
'Serious labour shortage' holding Alberta's tourism sector back: industry advocates
Alberta's tourism sector has a "serious labour shortage" that can threaten its long-term viability, a new labour study has found.