Modelling shows Ontario’s COVID-19 cases could swell to 1,000 daily by mid-October

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Public health officials urge people to wash hands, keep your distance, wear a mask and stay home if you’re sick

Public Health officials in Ontario are warning the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 could swell to 1,000 daily by mid-October.

And they’re concerned that will overwhelm the health system, causing already backlogged surgeries to be put on hold.

Adalsteinn Brown, the dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, says the number of cases in Ontario has been doubling every 10 to 12 days. That could mean 1,000 new cases daily if people continue to ease off on public health measures. And that could lead to more deaths.

Today, there were 625 new cases of COVID-19 with most of the cases again concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa. Lambton continues to have three people recovering from COVID-19 with seven cases reported in September.

SEE THE MODELLING PRESENTATION HERE: https://files.ontario.ca/moh-fall-prep-modelling-deck-en-2020-09-30.pdf

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams says the province has made some changes already including changing the number of people at private gatherings (10 indoors 25 outdoors) closing strip clubs, and moving last call at restaurants and bars to 11 pm.

“We want to see the impact of those changes,” says Williams when asked if there would be more restrictions. He added the province is speaking with medical officers of health in the hot spots about what restrictions they may like to see.

Williams says any new measures will be ‘surgical’ hoping to ease any of the secondary problems that come from severe restrictions.

He says mental health issues and addictions have increased during the last lock down. He says singles need to have some ways to socialize to curb loneliness, there have been many instances of opioid addicts dying of overdose alone and young children were suffering from anxiety because they were away from their regular routines. Williams say those things need to continue. “It’s not just the nice thing to do, it is a necessity.”

Matt Anderson, president and CEO of Ontario Health, says the goal through the next wave is to keep hospitals working, with surgery rooms operating to reduce the backlog from the last shutdown.

If there are up to 350 people in the intensive care units across the province – that won’t happen, he says.

“We are trying to keep the rest of the health care system as functioning as possible. If we keep the (COVID-19) numbers down, we don’t have to make those choices…sometimes we don’t have a choice.”

Williams is urging people to continue following the basic public health advice, wash your hands, keep six feet from people you don’t live with, wear a mask when you can’t and stay home when you’re sick.

“Everybody has to do their part doing the right thing instead of saying ‘well, whatever.’ We don’t need that whatever attitude.”