Ontario’s latest COVID-19 modelling suggests a longer Stay-at-Home order coupled with fast and reliable vaccine administration is the only way to get the growing third wave of infection under control.
Public health experts are calling for a six-week Stay-at-Home order and at least 100,000 COVID-19 immunizations per day in modelling data released Friday.
Although officials often talk about following public health measures to save the summer, the province’s new data suggests high case rates will persist through the summer unless stronger measures are enacted along with immediate support for essential workers and high-risk communities.
The modelling predicts Ontario could see 10,000 COVID-19 cases per day by the end of April with “weak” public health measures. With “moderate” public health measures, the modelling forecasts about 7,500 new infections per day by April 30.
With “strong” public health measures, the modelling predicts daily case counts will peak around 7,000 in late April before decreasing in early May.
“Progress is both frustrating and frightening,” Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, said at a news conference Friday.
Right now a record number of people are in hospital with COVID-19, and the number of people in ICU is compromising care for all patients, according to the public health experts behind the modelling. In the last two weeks, there has been a 67% increase in hospitalizations and 51% growth in ICU admissions.
Rising hospitalizations are creating a backlog for other procedures that will affect Ontarians well past the pandemic, the modelling suggests.
Since the last modelling update, COVID-19 case rates have increased rapidly in most public health units around the province.
Test positivity rates are also increasing, with Ontario averaging 8% test positivity over the last seven days and Peel averaging 15%. The number of tests has stayed consistent, suggesting the increase in positivity is because there are more cases.
The province is doing a slightly better job vaccinating people who are more at risk of infection, with people in high-risk communities more likely to have received their first dose compared to two weeks ago.
Ontario is currently in its second week of a four-week Stay-at-Home order, and data suggests peoples’ mobility has declined — but not enough to bring new infections under control.
Ontario shattered its daily case record for the third time this week on Friday, reporting more than 4,800 new infections.