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Top doctor says Ontario ‘must remain vigilant’ past flu peak, COVID variant advances

TORONTO — Ontario’s top doctor says even though COVID-19 and flu activity is declining, the province “must remain vigilant” as a more transmissible variant gains ground.

In a statement, Dr. Kieran Moore says parts of Ontario are reporting a rise in the number of cases of the more easily spreadable XBB 1.5 variant of COVID-19.

He says while the new strain has not been associated with more severe illness, infections could climb as it becomes the “main variant in Ontario.”

Moore says Ontario is seeing a decline in COVID, respiratory syncytial virus and flu activity throughout the province, offering some relief to hard-hit hospitals.

In recent weeks, Ontario pediatric hospitals have ramped up surgeries after a three-month surge of flu and RSV cases pushed them to redeploy staff to intensive care units and emergency departments.

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Moore says flu cases peaked at the end of November and continue to decline.

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