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Modelling points to strained hospital facilities, increased deaths

 

Modelling points to strained hospital facilities, increased deaths

John Best

Health officials released four different COVID modelling scenarios Thursday that painted a sobering picture

At a growth rate of three per cent over the next month, which is a slightly more than the 2.47 per cent growth rate we have seen over the last 14 days, we would end up with roughly 5,000 daily cases and nearly 400 people in the ICU by Jan. 8.

But if the rate of growth were to slow to one per cent we would only have about 2,500 daily cases and under 300 people in the ICU by the first week in January. Either way it’s a much higher daily count than Ontario is currently experiencing.

The officials also offered a worst-case based based on the five per cent growth rate that Ontario briefly saw in November prior to lockdowns being put in place in Toronto and Peel, points to nearly 10,000 daily cases by early January with more than 500 COVID patients in the ICU.

As of this morning, there were 228 COVID patients in Ontario, The seven-day average of new cases stood at 1,862.

The ICU bed crunch is not evenly distributed across the province. “his is not a few beds in every hospital,” said Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, the Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and co-chair of Ontario’s COVID-19 science table. “This is heavily concentrated in Peel and Toronto and when ICUs become heavily affected by COVID like this you really do start to see interruption in service, including necessary and emergency service, So we are over the threshold at which we believe we have to start cancelling and delaying elective surgery and we are now into that threshold, particularly in a number of communities, where important care is being delayed.”

While the growth in cases has slowed since earlier in November when the modelling suggested that we could be at 3,500 to 6,500 daily cases by this point, it has not yet plateaued.

Meanwhile, the modelling suggests that the most likely scenario will see Ontario record more than 25 daily deaths due to COVID-19 by the end of the month. It down from more than 80 daily deaths that the province was reporting in April when the virus was running rampant but nonetheless represents a significant increase.

“We are nowhere what we did during their first wave and I can tell you that when I am required to drive on the highways and things like that the traffic load is very similar to what it was in non-COVID season so there is a lot of people on the move and we have to get that down and limit that somehow,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said during Thursday’s news conference. “We are at a various precarious stage here and we have to really watch this carefully if we are not going to have to close some things further. We are bending the curve a bit, the data shows we are slowing the rate of increase but we have to do better than that.”

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