COVID-19 cases in the community slow; still “a battle” in long term care homes say officials

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“We want to give people hope because there is hope,” says Ford

Ontario’s public health officials say you have made a difference.

Matthew Anderson, CEO of Ontario Health, released a revised model of the number of people getting COVID-19 and how it affecting hospitals and long term care homes Monday.

“It is starting to look more like the best case,” he said.

“Our public health measures are working and we need to keep them working; we need to stay focused on our public health measures.”

Anderson says while the amount of cases of the virus in the community is slowing, there is still a lot of concern for people in long term care homes. And officials warn because COVID-19 is deadly for elderly people, there is a concern the death rate in Ontario will continue to climb because of the infections in long term care.

Ahile the news seems to be hopeful, officials are not ready to open up the economy immediately.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, says restarting the economy – including ramping up elective surgeries in hospitals – will have to be done carefully.

“It will not be like a light switch, on-off; because once we lift it, it will be very hard to come back,” says Yaffee.

It was a message echoed by Premier Doug Ford. “Thanks to our collective efforts…we have so far avoided the worst case scenario we were all dreading.

“We have avoided devastation witnessed in the other country…but we’re still in the middle of a battle; we’re still fighting hard to protect our long term care homes,” says Ford.

“We are developing a frame work for the gradual and safe reopening for our province…The health and safety of the people of the province must remain the number one priority.”

“We have to be so, so cautious…but we want to give people hope because there is hope.”

Ford was asked if restrictions in rural communities could be lifted earlier. “All it takes is just one person to go visit them with COVID and then it starts all over again,” he says.

And Ford urges people to continue following the public health measures like social distancing and handwashing.

“It is very, very difficult to close the economy down…it is twice as hard to open it up again.”