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A report by Public Health Ontario says the period of infectivity for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 does not appear to be shorter than other forms of the virus, and may be longer in some cases.

The agency says that while there is limited evidence on the infectivity of Omicron, its own modelling data suggests people remain contagious for a similar amount of time.

And it says that, unlike other variants of concern, Omicron does not seem to show a faster viral clearance in vaccinated people compared with unvaccinated ones.

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The findings are included in a report on strategies to cohort patients in acute care that was published last week.

They align with comments made earlier this month by Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Theresa Tam, who said the latest evidence does not show the Omicron variant is contagious for less time than previous versions of the virus.

Ontario was one of several provinces to recently reduce the isolation period to five days from 10 days following the onset of symptoms for those who are vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the province is reporting 607 people in intensive care with COVID-19 and 3,535 hospitalized patients in total.

That’s down from 3,645 people hospitalized with the illness yesterday and up from 599 patients in ICU.

There were 387 patients on ventilators due to the illness.

Ontario reported 67 more deaths from the virus that happened over the last month.

There were 5,337 new COVID-19 cases reported but the real number is likely higher due to a restricted testing policy.

Fifteen more deaths among long-term care residents were reported since the last daily update and 56 per cent of long-term care homes were experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks as of Friday.

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