St. Catharines Site, Niagara Health System. SUPPLIED

More contagious COVID variants causing more severe illness in younger patients

In a statement released Monday, April 12, Niagara Public Health urged residents, “in the strongest possible terms,” to continue to observe the province’s stay-at-home order to protect the system’s capacity to provide critical care.

“Niagara Health continues to experience a significant increase in COVID-19 activity,” said President and Interim CEO Lynn Guerriero, “including in our Intensive Care Unit. In less than two weeks, the overall number of COVID-19 positive patients in our care has increased from 11 on March 31 (the day before Good Friday) to 39 today.”

Guerriero said that incoming patients are younger, and there is an increase in transmissions of “variants of concern.”

There are a total of 1,062 confirmed active cases of COVID-19 in the region. There are currently 43 active cases in Pelham, the third-highest rate by population among all Niagara municipalities.

“We understand that there is pandemic fatigue,” said Guerriero, “but we need everyone’s ongoing support and vigilance with public health measures, a little longer. This is critically necessary in order to preserve hospital capacity to meet the healthcare needs, both COVID and non-COVID, of our community.”