Ontario health officials released COVID-19 modelling data on Thursday afternoon, showing that cases could reach almost 5,000 per day in early January at the province’s current growth rate of 3%.
The worse case scenario would be a 5% growth, which would see almost 10,000 COVID-19 cases per day. If this does happen, it will surpass the Netherlands and almost reach Michigan’s levels.
If growth is 3%, the cases will surpass the UK and France. And if it’s at 1%, cases will reach 2,500.
There will also be an increase in the number of deaths, which would exceed more than 25 a day within a month.
Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams presented the new data.
Health officials also noted that cases continue to grow while percent positivity appears to be flattening, “this is a small bit of good news,” Brown said.
But the impact of the pandemic still varies widely across and within public health units.
Ontario’s hotspots, Toronto, Peel and York Region are still experiencing high case counts and case positivity rates.
Toronto and Peel Region went into lockdown on November 23 for at least 28 days.
According to health officials, the current lockdown has not had “nearly as much impact on mobility (and likely contacts) as lockdown did in March. Relaxation of public health interventions with a widening prevention gap will likely lead to even higher case growth.”
In Peel, there are 197 people with the virus per 100,000, with Toronto following at 118, and York with 104. The ideal number is 30, according to Toronto Public Health.
And the COVID-19 test positivity rate — meaning the number of people who have positive test results of those who get tested — is highest in Peel at 11%. Followed by Toronto and York that each report 6%.
ICU occupancy will continue above 200 beds for the next month and may go higher, particularly if public health interventions are relaxed.
Long-term care and overall mortality continue to increase and may exceed 25 deaths per day within a month.
The reproduction number is fluctuating around 1, which means that Ontario is at “a critical juncture where case rates may change quickly.”
For Ontarians with access to suitable housing and employment outside of essential services, case rates have increased at a slower pace.
On Thursday, the Government of Ontario confirmed 1,983 new COVID-19 cases — the highest case count since the pandemic began.
Numbers have been over 1,000 for a few weeks with Wednesday’s 1,890, Tuesday’s 1,676, Monday’s 1,925 (the previous record-high), Sunday’s 1,924, Friday’s 1,780, Thursday’s 1,824, Wednesday’s 1,723, Tuesday’s 1,707, Monday’s 1,746, and Sunday’s 1,708.
To date, Ontario has seen 134,783 coronavirus cases and 3,871 deaths.