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Paramedics transfer a patient out of their ambulance to the emergency department at Michael Garron Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Jan. 10.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

As the Omicron-fuelled fifth wave of the pandemic appears to be peaking in some provinces, prompting plans to ease some COVID-19 restrictions, others are still dealing with surging cases pushing hospitals to the brink.

With a record 1,377 COVID-19 patients in hospital, emergency wards in Alberta face long wait times and multiple red alerts, which means no ambulances are available at a given time.

The provincial health authority confirmed Tuesday that a patient died while waiting for care in an emergency ward.

Ontario reports 608 patients in intensive care with COVID-19, 89 new virus-related deaths

Quebec surpasses 13,000 COVID-19 deaths, opens platform to track rapid test results

The Baffin Island community of Igloolik, which has a population of about 1,600, is under a strict lockdown, with all offices and schools closed and travel restricted as COVID-19 spreads rapidly among households.

Youth sports tournaments in B.C. will be allowed to resume on Feb. 1, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is extending the use of the proof-of-vaccine card until June 30, calling it an important tool to allow restaurants, fitness centres, and events to continue to operate.

Saskatchewan’s top doctor said the province is considering lifting public health orders in the coming days despite near-record hospitalizations.

Dr. Saqib Shahab said there are ongoing conversations with the government on what public health orders remain necessary.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe told a local radio show earlier Wednesday that some restrictions have run their course and the goal is to remove all measures when possible.

Quebec and Ontario are loosening some restrictions next week, with in-person dining to resume in both provinces.

Gyms and cinemas are opening their doors in Ontario come Monday.

Students in Newfoundland and Labrador returned to in-person classes Tuesday after learning from home since Jan. 4, although the province’s teachers association says its members feel it’s not yet safe to open schools.

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