The independent BC COVID-19 Modelling team issued its latest report this morning.
Based on the rising number of Omicron BA.5 infections, the group says the next COVID wave is not coming this fall but has already arrived as a summer wave.
“The next Omicron wave has started in BC and across Canada and is being caused by a faster rate of spread by the BA.5 variant. The number of infections and severe cases leading to hospitalization are expected to rise through July. The height of the BA.5 wave and its impact are challenging to predict.”
The modelling team says the new Omicron sub-variant is now the most common one found in BC and Canada.
It says the province faces a new wave of infections driven by the high-transmissible variant.
Dr Sarah Otto of the team warns that anyone with health concerns should be getting a vaccine booster.
The team says the relative severity of BA.5 is not known, but indications from other countries suggest it’s similar to earlier Omicron variants but slightly more severe.
South Africa reports a slightly higher hospitalization rate per case compared to previous Omicron sub-variants.
The BC COVID-19 Modelling team warns that because of “waning immunity and increased potential for BA.5 to evade immunity, hospital admissions are expected to return to growth in BC and Alberta.”