Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan confirmed on Dec. 27 that he tested positive for COVID-19.
O’Regan wrote on Twitter that, following the diagnosis, he will remain in isolation and follow public health guidelines.
The minister said that he is “grateful” for having received three vaccine doses, while thanking “the thousands of health care workers” who are keeping Canadians safe.
Took a rapid test and tested positive for COVID. I’ll stay in isolation and continue to follow public health guidelines.
I’m grateful for my three vaccine doses, for the thousands of health care workers keeping us safe, and for vigilance of millions of Canadians.
Hold fast 🇨🇦.
— Seamus O'Regan Jr (@SeamusORegan) December 28, 2021
O’Regan did not say how or where he became infected with the coronavirus, or provide any details about his symptoms or current state of health.
On Dec. 20, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly also announced on social media that, following a rapid test, she was positive for COVID-19.
Federal and provincial governments have been ramping up COVID-19 restrictions in the face of the highly infectious Omicron variant and increasing case counts.
Data from areas with more advanced Omicron infection rates, including South Africa and Denmark, show the rate of hospitalization and deaths due to Omicron to be much lower than other variants of concern. Data so far show the same trend in Canada.
A recent study from the UK Health Security Agency showed that a person infected with Omicron is 70 percent less likely to be admitted to the hospital compared to someone with the Delta variant. Another study conducted by South Africa’s national public health institute shows that the risk of hospitalization due to Omicron is estimated to be 80 percent lower than with Delta.
COVID-19 cases in Canada on Dec. 27 shot up to over 15,400, setting a new record, while death count continued its downward trend at 16, down from a daily peak of 50 in October, and the highest daily peak of around 200 in 2020.
Daily hospitalizations on Dec. 27 were at 1,733, down from an October peak of 2,500, and highest peak of 4,800 in early 2021.