One-in-five Canadians report COVID-19 infection in their household since December

VANCOUVER – A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute (ARI) offers insight into just how widespread the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may be in Canada.

The latest data estimate that approximately one-in-five households (21%) have had at least one case of COVID-19 positivity since Dec. 1. A considerable portion of these positive tests (36%) – self-reported by respondents in this survey – came just after the holiday season, in the first two weeks of January, while 42% occurred in December.

This data also estimates the incidence of COVID-19 among individuals during that same period. Overall, 9% of Canadians say they have received a positive test – either at home or at a testing center – since Dec. 1.

ARI estimates that an additional 5% of Canadians – at least – have been infected during that period, based on an analysis of the number of self-reported symptoms, and the positivity rate among those with similar symptom profiles who were tested. With Omicron now appearing to have peaked, many Canadians are leaning toward reducing restrictions related to COVID-19 control.

A majority (54%) now say it is time to remove restrictions and let Canadians manage their own level of risk, an increase of 15 percentage points since this question was asked in early January.

Household infection is reported at the highest levels in Quebec and the lowest levels in Atlantic Canada.

Testing levels for low-income households are significantly lower than those with higher household income levels. Additionally, British Columbia lags behind the rest of the country in testing, with just one-quarter of adults reporting having taken a test since Dec. 1. The national average is 42%.

Women over the age of 54 are the only age-gender group that disagree that restrictions should be ended. A majority of each other groupings agree that the time has come.