The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is calling on the provincial government to enforce a four-week lockdown in certain public health units as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Ontario and hospitalizations are increasing rapidly.
In a news release, the OHA shares its concern as daily numbers in the province surpass 2,000 for the third consecutive day, and the occupancy of intensive care units continues to grow.
Though Premier Doug Ford considered a two-week shut down after the holidays, the association recommends that at a minimum, the Ontario government should implement and enforce “a four-week lockdown in every public health unit with an infection rate of 40/100,000 population or higher,” according to a news release.
“This is in keeping with the criteria laid out in the government’s COVID-19 Response Framework, and is necessary to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario and to ensure that hospitals do not face a devastating surge in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization and intensive care in January.”
The OHA also recommends that the grey lockdown zone be re-evaluated by proper authority and epidemiological experts to find if stricter measures are needed.
On Tuesday, Ontario Health President Matt Anderson called on hospitals to prepare for the surge of COVID-19 patients within 48 hours as a spike in cases could overwhelm the healthcare system, stating the province has entered a “critical phase” of the pandemic.
“Our ability to care for patients (COVID and non-COVID alike) is being challenged, so we are asking hospitals to work together, even more, to ensure we can continue to have the bed capacity to care for patients, safely and effectively,” read the memo.
With recent news of vaccinations, the OHA states that in order for the program to succeed “quickly and effectively,” the crisis must be dealt with as soon as possible.
“The situation is extremely serious. We are now in the holiday season and if members of the public choose to ignore public health measures and gather outside their households, the consequences risk overwhelming Ontario’s hospitals. Every health care system has its breaking point,” said the OHA.