Ontario is set to reach 10,000 daily COVID-19 cases at the current growth rate.
On Tuesday, Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, associate chief medical officer of health, and Matthew Anderson, president and CEO of Ontario Health, presented the new COVID-19 modelling data projections for the province.
If cases continue to grow under the current level of restrictions, it could reach over 40,000 cases a day at a 7% growth rate by February 8.
At a 5% growth rate, it could exceed 20,000 daily, and with a 3% growth rate, it could be at over 10,000 daily.
And at 1% growth rate it would be at 5,000 daily.
According to Brown, Ontario is currently between a 3% to 5% growth rate and on the “worst days” is at 7%.
“When looking at the spread of COVID-19, we are at a dangerous point growing,” he said. “We currently have 419 in ICU and mortality rate in long-term care homes is now on pace to exceed the first wave levels.”
When looking at ICU bed occupancy, it would reach 500 beds in mid-January with no percentage growth, but at 3% it’s over 1,000 and at 5% is almost at 2,000.
COVID-19 ICU occupancy is now over 400 beds. This has resulted in surgeries being cancelled, and the access to care deficit will continue to increase “with real consequences for health.”
According to the officials, almost 40% of long-term care homes have active COVID-19 outbreaks or 252 facilities with an active outbreak.
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Since January 1, 198 long-term care residents and two long-term care staff have died of COVID-19. The forecast suggests more deaths in wave 2 in long-term care than in wave 1.
It was noted that mobility and contacts between people have not decreased with the current restrictions. Survey data show that the majority of Ontarians are helping limit spread by following them.
“However, case numbers will not decline until more of the population follows their example.”
Comment was also made on the UK COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 (B117), which could drive “much higher case counts, ICU occupancy and mortality if community transmission occurs.” The doubling time for cases could drop by more than two-thirds — 14 cases are now in Ontario.
“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,” Brown said.
Premier Doug Ford is set to make an announcement at 1 pm on further COVID-19 restrictions for the province, which has been in lockdown since December 26.
To date, Ontario has seen 222,023 COVID-19 cases and 5,053 deaths.