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Canada’s chief public health officer warned Friday the country is in a period of pandemic transition that might see further waves of COVID-19 cases this year.

“We anticipate that progress will not be linear, and there will likely be more bumps along the way, including resurgence in cases this spring, and likely also in the fall and winter,” Theresa Tam said.

COVID-19 is still circulating widely and the risk of re-emergence remains, Dr. Tam said during a news briefing.

She advised Canadians to keep wearing masks and ensure vaccinations are up to date with the risk of a rise in cases and amid reduced public-health measures.

Canada is observing a steady increase in the BA.2 variant of COVID-19, and continuing genomic surveillance will remain crucial for monitoring variants of concern, she said.

Keeping an eye on wastewater trends can also be a helpful tool for monitoring COVID-19 transmission in communities, Dr. Tam said.

An increase in in-person activities, the presence of the BA.2 variant and waning immunity might have played a part in increase in transmission.

Dr. Tam said that as of Thursday, daily average case counts had increased by 28 per cent nationally, suggesting a resurgence is under way.

A rise in hospitalizations could therefore be seen in the country, Dr. Tam said, noting that these trends may vary by region. But she added Canadians are now in a better position to live with the virus, and the overall effect on the health care system might be more manageable thanks to high immunity in the population from vaccination and recent infection.

Canada's chief public health officer warns the country is in a period of pandemic transition that might see further waves of COVID-19 cases this year. Dr. Theresa Tam said during a news briefing that COVID-19 is still circulating widely and the risk of re-emergence remains.

The Canadian Press

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