Ontario’s current coronavirus lockdowns not as effective, easing measures could mean higher cases: officials

The Ontario government’s current coronavirus lockdown restrictions in areas like Toronto and Peel Region are not as effective as the previous provincial lockdown, officials say, leading to concerns about higher case growth.

In an update provided by Ontario’s science and modelling consensus tables Thursday afternoon, the present lockdown hasn’t impacted affected residents’ travelling and likely contacts with others compared to restrictions put in place in March.

The advisory bodies did report that even though cases continue to grow, the percentage of people testing positive on a daily basis “appears to be flattening.” But there were notable differences between areas governed by different public health units.

Read more: Ontario’s 1st COVID-19 vaccines coming to Ottawa, Toronto on Dec. 15

“We’re really in a precarious stage here,” Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, told reporters.

“We’re slowing the increase, but we have to be better.”

According to the most recent modelling data, Peel Region continues to lead the total new cases per 100,000 residents a week across Ontario’s 35 public health units with 197 cases for every 100,000. Toronto comes second with 118 followed by York Region at 104, Windsor-Essex at 94, Durham Region at 82, Hamilton at 80 and Waterloo at 79.

It was also reported that if current public health measures and restrictions are relaxed, that decision could mean more people ending up in intensive care units as those units continue to be strained with more than 200 COVID-19 patients taking those spaces. Officials said the ICU strain means accessing care for non-COVID-19-related issues will be more difficult.

Read more: Ontario sets provincial record with nearly 2,000 new coronavirus cases

According to the data, there has been a 91.6 per cent increase in hospitalizations over the past month and there has been a 165.9 per cent increase in patients being admitted to ICUs.

With Ontario’s cases, those in the province’s long-term care facilities are increasingly feeling the effects. According to the data, the mortality rate for those infected with the virus at those facilities is increasing and within a month more than 25 people could die each day even though cases in residents are beginning to dip. Officials also noted there is an increase in staff cases again.

When it comes to those who don’t have access to “suitable housing and employment outside of essential services,” the most recent data reiterated those people are impacted at a higher level. The projections released state case rates increased at a slower pace for those who have better housing and don’t work in jobs deemed essential.

More to come.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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