COVID-19 has caused record numbers of hospitalizations in Canada

COVID-19 cases threaten to overwhelm hospitals in several parts of Canada, with hospitalizations nearing or reaching record levels in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.

Every Western country facing the Omicron variant currently has a hospital system under stress, said former University Health Network President, CEO and Deputy Minister of Health of Ontario, Dr. Bob Bell.

But he believes Canada will impose faster lockdowns and restrictions than places like the United States, as Canada is less tolerant of deaths from the virus, he said.

Back to class in the West

Meanwhile, students from British Columbia and Alberta are back in class this morning after a long winter break.

Many counties imposed a one-week delay in returning to education face-to-face, as the Omicron variant quickly spread across the country.

But officials in the far western counties have argued that virtual learning poses its own risks to children, saying it puts their mental health at risk.

Despite this, some children, parents and education workers have expressed concerns about the reopening of schools as the virus stresses health systems across the country.

Alberta Education Minister Adriana Lagrange has pledged to deliver thousands of self-test boxes to students and parents in this province over the next few days.

However, Edmonton Public Schools and the Alberta Teachers Association have indicated that some children will only receive them within days of returning to class, which could exacerbate the spread of Omicron cases.

In Quebec, people over 40 can schedule a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — a day after the province hit an all-time high of 2,436 hospital admissions linked to coronavirus infection.

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As of now, employees at National Microbiology Laboratory facilities across the country are encouraged to work from home if possible.

A statement from Public Health Canada says the move is aimed at protecting workers who perform basic laboratory diagnostics and on-site research.

The work-from-home order covers employees at laboratory sites in Winnipeg, Guelph, Ontario, St. Hyacinth and Lethbridge, Alberta.

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