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Covid-19 variants have likely replaced original virus in many parts of Canada, health officials say

April 6, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 50.6%. 2 min read.

Canadian public health officials say a rapidly spreading variant likely has now replaced the original Covid-19 virus in many parts of the country, and new variants are making younger people sicker and sending more to the hospital.

(CNN)Canadian public health officials say a rapidly spreading variant likely has now replaced the original Covid-19 virus in many parts of the country, and new variants are making younger people sicker and sending more to the hospital.

"This isn't the news any of us wanted, but hospitalizations are surging, ICU beds are filling up, variants are spreading and even people who had convinced themselves they didn't need to be concerned are getting sick," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference Tuesday, adding this is a "very serious" third wave of the pandemic.

Intensive care unit admissions are up 18% in the past week alone, and the new variants are placing a "heavy strain" on hospital capacity, the Public Health Agency of Canada said.

"With increasing rates of infection, we are seeing a greater number of younger adults with Covid-19 being treated in hospital," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer.

In many provinces now experiencing a third wave, chief public health officers are reporting that younger patients are getting severely ill with Covid-19, and many of those cases have tested positive for variants of concern, according to Tam.

In Toronto, public health officials ordered all elementary and secondary schools to stop in-person learning and shift to remote learning, effective Wednesday, as they try to "reverse the surge of infection that the province currently faces," Toronto Public Health said.

While the B. 1. 1. 7 variant has now likely become the dominant variant in Canada, Tam said her team is also keeping a close eye on a significant outbreak of the P. 1 variant, first detected in Brazil and now surging in some western Canadian provinces.

Monday, British Columbia's health minister said the number of cases of the P. 1 variant in his province almost doubled over the Easter holiday weekend.

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