Provincial leadership says they’re not concerned with a recent rise of COVID-19 cases, found in both adults and children, across the province.

During a virtual announcement on April 6 in Etobicoke, Ontario’s Health Minister and Deputy Premier, Christine Elliott, says the uptick in cases was expected by Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, which has since been dissolved, after the removal of mask mandates.

“That’s something that we anticipated with the opening up of Ontario to get us back to our economic strengths, and also because of the transmissibility of the BA.2 variant,” said Elliott.

Elliott says Ontario is staying prepared for a further rise in cases, with high rates of vaccination, more supplies of new anti-viral medications and increasing capacity within the province’s healthcare system and hospitals.

“This is something that we’re sure that we’re going to be able to get through. There’s no cause of panic. This was anticipated,” adds Elliott.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford adds his government will continue to take medical and scientific advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore.

“We do have the capacity within our hospitals and Intensive Care Units. We’ve seen ICU [admissions] stabilize. We can ramp up to over 3,000 ICU beds. We’ve increased acute care by over 3,100. We have anti-viral pills,” adds Ford.

“We’ve learned a lot. I’m very confident that as we see the uptick in cases, that we can handle this. We have the resources. We have the skillset. We’ll get through it.”

Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Theresa Tam, says Canada’s daily average COVID-19 case counts have increased by about 28 per cent, likely indicating a resurgence of COVID-19 is underway.

Tam adds that preliminary data shows a fourth dose, or a second booster dose, of the vaccine can offer additional protection against infection, severe illness, hospitalization and death.

She notes residents considered high-risk will see the most benefit from a fourth dose. These people include adults over 80 living in the community, residents of long-term care homes and congregate seniors’ settings and those who are immunocompromised.

Eligible individuals are now able to book their fourth dose appointment through the COVID-19 vaccination portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900, through the Northwestern Health Unitparticipating pharmacies and participating primary care settings.