York Region's top doctors explains current COVID-19 trends

As the Ontario Science Table has said, recent data suggests COVID-19 cases may be declining, and York Region's top doctor says that trend is continuing locally.

Dr. Parry Pakes says recent wastewater data has plateaued and appears to be decreasing to a sustained level.

"I think it's very important to remember that it's going down from a very, very high level, and as that means, there's just a ton of COVID as I'm sure everyone recognizes that's circulating in the community."

While many people have exhibited more mild infections with the most recent variants, Pakes says many of the most vulnerable people with immunocompromised conditions can still receive a severe infection.

He notes officials are monitoring the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in South Africa, which doctors say is linked to two new forms of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5.

"Fortunately, the South African authorities and many others around the world where these variants are sharing their data, and we are looking for it in Ontario."

In York Region, the dominant variant continues to be BA.2.

For those who are recently infected, Pakes says it can vary how long you are contagious.

The general rule of thumb is to assume you are contagious for two weeks.

But Pakes says that the timeline has been shortened because of vaccination and immunity.

"We want to lessen the burden, and we are more comfortable now taking a few more risks depending on who you are interacting with," he concludes.