Toronto's coronavirus case numbers lower than projected due to public health measures

Apr 21 2020, 1:52 pm

Toronto is currently in the peak of COVID-19 cases in the general community, with numbers being less than originally forecasted and lower than other parts of the world, health officials confirmed on Tuesday.

The city’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa analyzed Toronto Public Health’s updated data, which shows the trajectory of cases for Toronto, Ontario, and Canada is lower compared to other countries like the US and Spain.

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“These other countries have unfortunately seen a large number of cases since their outbreaks began,” de Villa said.

Toronto, and Canada at large, have seen numbers lower than originally forecasted due to “strong public health measures and our residents took these measures seriously.”

Other data shows that Toronto is in the peak period of the curve for community outbreak, which measures the general population. This data is measured separately from congregate settings like retirement homes, long-term care homes, and hospitals, as cases are increasing in those settings.

Based on the models and projections by the Province of Ontario released earlier this month, de Villa said that with Toronto counting for 20% of the province’s population, the projections had shown that 600 to 3,000 deaths could happen over the course of the pandemic.

The pandemic may last for 18 months to two years, as there could be a potential second wave of the virus, as per the province.

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And Toronto is currently hitting its peak.

De Villa emphasized that the peak is not one day or single number and that numbers can vary in the peak.

Toronto will only know it’s hit the peak once it has passed.

“We must see it level and then go down to know we’ve hit our peak,” de Villa said.

Mayor John Tory said that there is still no date for when restrictions will be lifted, or the economy will be opened.

“It will be based on science and public health advice,” he said.

The Medical Officer of Health confirmed there are 3,820 total cases, with 281 in hospital and 109 in ICU.

To date, there have been 190 reported deaths.

In all of these measured areas, there is a flattening of cases which de Villa said should be “considered with cautious optimism.”

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While there is a flattening in the broader community, cases are on the rise in congregate settings, which can be seen in measuring reported deaths.

In the broader community there have been 59 deaths, with the average age being 79-years old. And in congregate settings, there have been 131 deaths with the average age being 87-years old.

De Villa said that updated information will be provided on Toronto Public Health’s data dashboard online, for residents to track in real time how the outbreaks are evolving.

She also said that until there is herd immunity — when a significant portion of the population is immune to the disease, largely due to a vaccine — individuals will still be able to contract the virus.

On Monday, de Villa first mentioned that the “pandemic activity” was in its peak.

She said that hospitalizations have not seen the “dramatic surge we feared,” and that there has been less hospitalizations each day.

While hospitalizations have been largely attributed to the broader community the reported deaths have been significantly attributed to long-term care homes.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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