Two public health experts say Quebec has already entered a sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic driven by the BA.2 subvariant.

While the province's public health director has been reluctant to confirm a new wave, Dr. Don Vinh of the McGill University Health Centre has little doubt it's underway.

Ontario and British Columbia have also seen upticks in hospitalizations in recent days, but Vinh says it is impossible to know how the latest wave will evolve or whether it will impact all of Canada.

He says Quebec has seen an increase in outbreaks in seniors and long-term care homes as well a 60 per cent increase in the number of health workers off the job with the virus, which are clear indicators that cases are on an upward curve.

Benoît Barbeau of the Université du Québec à Montréal also believes the province has entered a sixth wave, but says there's no reason to be alarmist.

He says the combination of vaccination and high levels of prior infection, combined with warming weather that will make it easier to go outside, means Quebec is much better equipped to handle this wave than the previous ones.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2022.