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Longer, harder lockdown would be best: health officials

 

Longer, harder lockdown would be best: health officials

John Best

If Ontario COVID expert Dr. Steni Brown had his way Ontario would probably be looking at a six-week lockdown starting as soon as possible. Dr.Brown says a sharp lockdown of that duration would be much more effective in combatting the spread of the virus than a four week lockdown. Dr, Brown cited progress made in Australia and France as examples of where a stringent lockdown helped stem to spread of COVID.  Dr. Brown also presented figures that suggested  in a worst case scenario the province could be looking at 1500 ICU patients sometime in January, but that even with restrictions we will probably see 300 ICU patients soon. He said we are also at risk of seeing 3,000 new cases a day.

About the only positive news from the Health experts is that the positivity rate—the percentage of cases  found as a result of testing– is flattening. They also recommended that there needs to be enhanced supports for the population during an extended lockdown—things like hotel beds for people who need to isolate but live in crowded conditions.  

Dr. Brown said that regardless of the scenario, occupancy in Ontario’s ICUs will be above 300 by the new year. In the worst-case scenario, COVID-19 patient occupancy could surpass 1,500 by mid-January. The government has previously said that when more than 300 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU, medical care not related to the disease becomes nearly impossible to handle.

“This means that we will see cancellations of surgery, we will see reductions in access to necessary care and we will see the risk of delayed access to intensive care unit care for people who clearly need it immediately under any of these scenarios,” Dr Brown said.

Over the past four weeks, hospitalizations due to the novel coronavirus has increased by about 69.3 per cent, the modelling said, and there has been an 83.1 per cent increase in ICU COVID-19 admissions in that same time period.

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