Ontario projected to have 4,000 COVID-19 cases a day by October

Ontario's Science Table Graph shows the Delta variant which is fueling the fourth wave the pandemic is far more contagious.

Scientist urge people to reduce the number of social contacts; Lambton Public Health finds people with COVID-19 have “a high number” of contacts

Ontario scientist warn there could be at least 4,000 cases a day of COVID-19 by October if people don’t reduce their activities outside the home.

That as Lambton’s Acting Medical Officer of Health says contract tracers here are having to call more people for each person who tests positive for the virus here.

Ontario’s Science Table which advises the province on COVID-19 released its latest projections on the pandemic saying the fourth wave is upon us and without anything changing, we are likely to see 4,000 cases per day by October.

Wednesday afternoon Premier Doug Ford announced people would have to show proof of vaccination to get into places like restaurants, bars, gyms and meeting rooms. While people were digesting the news, the Science Table put out its latest findings via Twitter and one of its recommendations was the proof of vaccination program.

Normally, the scientists have released the information along side Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and answer media questions.

Dr. Beate Sanders, the chair of Scientific Advisory Table, a member of the COVID-19 Modeling Collaborative, took time Thursday afternoon on the social media platform to explain what the graphs meant.

Sanders says Ontario will see 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 daily by October if nothing else changes. But with schools opening and businesses recalling employees to the office, Sanders expects it could be worse – up to 9,000 cases if there is no intervention.

“Vaccination offers substantial protection against severe health outcomes,” reads the modelling data. “We do not expect to see the same proportion of severely ill cases in the vaccinated.

“Among the unvaccinated, we do expect to see a rapid increase in the number of seriously ill people needing hospital care as workplaces and education re-open in September.”

Sanders says with case climbing, the Intensive Care Units in Ontario would have more patients than this spring in the Third Wave – 500 cases by mid-November. Not only would that tax the system, it would delay surgeries and procedures again.

Sanders says Ontario can “mitigate” the fourth wave by moderately reducing the number of people we’re in contact with “the sooner the better.”

“If we fail now, a lockdown will be unavoidable in later in the fall,” Sanders says, adding the Delta variant will fuel the spread. The Science Table modelling shows one person with the Delta variant of COVID-19 is likely to infect between six and eight people. That compares with two or three with the original virus.

“Delta is like driving on an icy road,” says Sanders “travelling fast means we need to break hard at the stop sign ahead of us, travelling slower means we won’t need to break as hard and have more time to react.”

While scientists like Sanders are urging people to reduce the number of people they come in contact with right now, it seems the opposite is true in Lambton County.

Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Christopher Greensmith, told reporters Thursday morning that while the number of cases in the county is low – just 13 active cases right now – the number of people who are getting calls from public health is growing.

“The contacts of those cases (people who have been in close contact and may have to be tested) has been quite high and there has been a lot of contact tracing by our staff,” says Greensmith. “That puts extra people at risk as well. So, we advocate again, that please don’t go out if you’re feeling ill, be mindful of others and follow up public health guidelines.”

In Lambton, there have been 3,692 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic; 14 of those infections were in fully vaccinated people and 112 of the people were partially vaccinated.

There have also been 84 cases of the Delta variant – 14 of those in the last 30 days.

Both Greensmith and the scientist from the province’s modelling team says aside from reducing the number of people Ontarians are in contact with, the rate of vaccination has to improve to make a difference heading into the fall.

In Lambton, 72 per cent of people over 12 are fully vaccinated – just under 60 per cent of Lambton’s teens have had both COVID-19 shots. That compares to 77 per cent of Ontarians over 12 fully vaccinated and 63 per cent of teens with both shots.

“We need to accelerate vaccine a lot. We’re plateauing at about 76 per cent of eligible Ontarians, but we now need to get above 85 per cent of eligible Ontarians — and even there, vaccination isn’t enough verses Delta,” says Sanders.

Or as the modelling data concludes: “Vaccination needs to accelerate substantially above 85 per cent of the eligible population aged 12+ fully vaccinated and we need to reduce contacts to about 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels until vaccination is high
enough to protect the population.”

That means reducing the amount of people inside in one place, maintaining physical distancing, limiting large gatherings, continuing indoor masking policies and working from home.