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Canada officially enters 4th wave of the pandemic

A map of COVID-19 cases across Canada
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Teresa Tam

Chief Canadian Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam on Thursday said the country is into the fourth wave of the pandemic.

New COVID-19 cases have doubled in the past two weeks, even though more than 71% of the population is fully vaccinated.

"To help reduce the size of the 4th wave this fall and winter & help limit its impact on our healthcare system, we need to maintain vigilance with #PublicHealth advice & #VaxToTheMax across ALL age groups! #EveryVaxCounts," Tam tweeted.

Tam said most of the transmission is occurring in young adults — and they need to be targeted for vaccination to minimize the size of the fourth wave this fall and winter.

Most cases (64.6%) and deaths (77.4%) were reported by Ontario and Quebec. Thursday morning, Ontario reported 513 new infections, its highest daily total in weeks.

Canada is also watching four variants of concern that have been detected in most provinces and territories:

  • B.1.1.7 (Alpha)
  • B.1.351 (Beta)
  • P.1 (Gamma)
  • B.1.617.2 (Delta)

The government added that new variants will continue to appear, "but we don’t yet know if they pose a higher risk to public health."

"Encouragingly, while the Delta variant is more contagious, a complete 2-dose series of COVID-19 vaccine still provides substantial protection," said Tam.

WBFO's Marian Hetherly contributed to this story.

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