Latest modelling projections presented by Epidemiologist Dr. Adalsteinn Brown today show that Ontario could see 20,000 COVID-19 daily cases by the middle of February.

Growth in cases has accelerated and is over 7% on the worst days, according to the Science Table which Brown co-chairs.

Modelling tables from the province’s COVID-19 advisory group revealed that almost 40% of long-term care homes have active COVID-19 outbreaks. Since January 1, 198 long-term care (LTC) residents and 2 LTC staff have died of COVID-19. Forecasts suggest more deaths in wave 2 in longterm care than in wave 1.

Data also showed that COVID-19 ICU occupancy is now over 400 beds. Surgeries are being cancelled and the access to
care deficit will continue to increase with real consequences for health. “Delay kills,” said Dr. Brown

Among the troubling revelations was no decrease in mobility, and contacts between people with the current restrictions. While survey data showed that the majority of Ontarians are helping limit spread by following them, case numbers will not decline until more of the population follows their example.

A new variant of concern of SARS-CoV-2 (B117) could also drive much higher case counts, ICU occupancy and mortality if community transmission occurs. The doubling time for cases could drop by more than 2/3.

This new variant is now in Ontario and there are currently 14 cases according to Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe.

The findings concluded that without significant reductions in contacts, the health system will be overwhelmed and mortality will exceed the first wave totals before a vaccine has time to take effect.

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