Ontario’s government released shocking COVID-19 projections on Thursday, highlighting a number of concerning epidemiology trends as the province aims to curve the second wave of the virus.
Among the findings and projections, the new modelling released today shows the province will reach 2,500 new daily cases by mid-December if the growth rate is at three per cent, or 6,500 if growth is at five per cent.
Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, one of the experts behind the projections, says a five per cent growth rate is in line with the current situation, or even “slightly optimistic.”
Brown says more restrictions should be put in place in some of the hot spot areas, such as Peel and Toronto, in order to reduce cases and the impact on the health-care system.
“The three-day rate of growth a few days ago was about five per cent. It’s now six per cent,” Brown said.
“If the last few days is a reasonable point of extrapolation, it’s fair to say the five per cent is a current, or maybe even an optimistic scenario.”
Ontario’s cases numbers are expected to exceed certain jurisdictions in Europe, with many areas in France and Italy currently under lockdowns.
“We’re trying to sound urgent, as much as we can. Those projections are alarming,” Dr. David Williams said.
“As always, we’re saying to the public, we’re dealing with data and facts here. We want you the public to know what we’re projecting towards. We can’t say in any stronger words. We’ve said it to you before.”
- Key indicators of the Pandemic continue to worsen but the impact of the pandemic varies widely across regions
- Other countries have struggled to control spread after allowing strong growth in case numbers in the early Fall
- Long-Term Care Home resident mortality is increasing each week
- Outbreaks continue to account for 10% of cases, recent research suggests indoor environments where health protection is difficult account for majority of cases
- At a 5% rate of growth, our case numbers likely exceed several jurisdictions in Europe that are now in some form of lockdown
- ICU occupancy will exceed the 150 bed threshold under any scenario within two weeks. It will exceed 400 beds under the worst scenarios within six weeks
- Wastewater tracking suggests that the restrictions had some effect in reducing potential growth
Among the key findings, health officials project ICU occupancy across Ontario hospitals will exceed the 150 bed threshold within two weeks. Under worse scenarios, they expect it will exceed 400 beds within six weeks.
“The key indicators of the pandemic continue to worsen and although the impact varies widely across regions in the province, most indicators are moving in a worsening direction across the entire province,” Dr. Brown said.
Per 100,000 residents, the data points to Peel Region recording the highest rate of COVID-19 infection at 130.5, showing a significant spike from mid-Oct. Toronto is behind Peel (88.5) followed by York Region (59.8) and Halton (56.1).
The data also points to a concerning development across Ontario’s hospitals and its sectors. Health officials are reporting a 61 per cent increase in hospitalized COVID-19 patients over the past three weeks and a 167 per cent increase in patients over the past six weeks.
The previous projections, released late last month, showed the province recording 1,000 new daily cases by mid-Oct.
The new projections for how the virus might spread in Ontario come as the province has reported daily case increases above 1,000 for the past week with 1,575 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 18 deaths.
This comes after the province broke daily case records in two consecutive days, with 1,426 cases on Wednesday, and 1,388 on Tuesday.
With files from the Canadian Press