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COVID infection rates peaking in some provinces, surging in others

Patient died while waiting for care in an Alberta emergency ward

As the Omicron-fuelled fifth wave of the pandemic appears to be peaking in some provinces, prompting plans to ease some COVID-19 restrictions, others are still dealing with surging cases pushing hospitals to the brink.

With a record 1,377 COVID patients in hospital, emergency wards in Alberta face long wait times and multiple red alerts, which means no ambulances are available at a given time.

The provincial health authority confirmed Tuesday that a patient died while waiting for care in an emergency ward.

The Baffin Island community of Igloolik, which has a population of about 1,600, is under a strict lockdown, with all offices and schools closed and travel restricted as COVID-19 spreads rapidly among households.

Youth sports tournaments in B.C. will be allowed to resume on Feb. 1, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is extending the use of the proof-of-vaccine card until June 30, calling it an important tool to allow restaurants, fitness centres, and events to continue to operate.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says the province will slowly begin to loosen some COVID-19 restrictions, beginning Monday with restaurants able to resume in-person dining at half capacity and no more than four people, or two different households, at a table.

Students in Newfoundland and Labrador returned to in-person classes Tuesday after learning from home since Jan. 4, although the province’s teachers association says its members feel it’s not yet safe to open schools.

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