'Going back to wearing a mask again...': Ontario's new wave of COVID-19 leads science, health experts to urge the public to add protections

Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table released key messages on the province "likely" entering a new "wave" of the pandemic, led by the Omicron BA.5 subvariant, which includes urging the public to wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces again.

"The rise in hospitalizations will likely be smaller than earlier waves, but our hospitals are already very strained," a thread posted on Twitter reads. "The third vaccine dose is critical to protect against severe disease."

Going back to wearing a mask again in crowded indoor public spaces is a good way to protect yourself until the wave is done.Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table

The science table highlights that wastewater surveillance shows a rise in COVID-19 in most regions of the province.

Test positivity is also above 10 per cent for the first time since May.

"We are seeing the first increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since May 2022, and hospitalizations remain higher than at any time last summer," a tweet from Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table reads.

"Since June 1, most G10 countries have already seen a rise in cases and hospitalizations driven by highly contagious Omicron sub-variants. We may be a couple weeks behind in this rise."

The science table also states that "a recent infection may not protect you very well from reinfection with BA.5," prompting the scientific and health experts to share that "re-engaging" multiple layers of protection will reduce the risk of infection, and getting as many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as each individual is eligible to receive.

"Ensure your vaccinations are up to date. 60 per cent of adults have received their third dose. It provides significant additional protection against serious illness," the science table wrote on Twitter.

"If you are age 60 or over, or immunocompromised, and haven’t received your fourth dose, now is the time. New vaccines targeted to emerging variants could be available this fall, but as there’s a wave starting, it makes sense to get the vaccines you are eligible for now."

Other health experts in Ontario have also taken to social media to comment on the existing COVID-19 spread in the province.