Ontario is projecting up to 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day by mid-October. Health officials released new modelling data on Wednesday morning.
The data suggests that while the second wave was impacting people between the ages of 20 to 39 it is now spreading to all age groups and cases are now doubling every 10 to 12 days.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams says the effect of tighter public health restrictions brought in on September 15th and September 25th will not be seen for another few days as the incubation and transmission period is about two weeks. However, Dr. Williams says based on the modelling more public health restrictions may be announced. On September 19th the province rolled back the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings to 10 and the number at outdoor events to 25. On the 25th the province ordered all businesses and organizations to screen staff and visitors to businesses before entering, bars and restaurants to stop serving alcohol by 11:00 pm and close by midnight except for takeout and delivery, and all strip clubs were closed.
Included in the modelling is the possible impact on Intensive Care Units across Ontario based on three models; a low scenario based on Ontario’s first wave, a medium scenario based on Michigan’s experience with a mixture of old and young individuals affected, and a high scenario based on Australia using an older and more vulnerable affected population. The stress on ICU’s is used as one indicator of COVID-19’s impact on the healthcare system. If patients in ICU’s remain below 150, hospitals can maintain capacity including scheduled surgeries, but if they creep above 350 it becomes impossible for hospitals to maintain surgeries and other serious health emergencies like opioid overdoses.
Dr. Williams says there have been successes in some sectors to control the spread of COVID-19 but he says the province is aware that some businesses are not discouraging employees to stay home if they are ill and not screening staff and visitors for symptoms of the virus. He did not indicate if tighter public health measures would include closing down specific sectors of the economy. he reinforced that the best defence is to wash your hands frequently, practice physical distancing, wear a face covering, avoid large gatherings, and not going to work or school if you are ill.