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Ontario COVID deaths could rise to 15,000

As promised by Premier Ford yesterday, a panel of doctors from Public Health Ontario released sobering projections today regarding the COVID epidemic. Modelers have projected that depending on personal distancing and other protective measures, the death toll in Ontario could range from a low of 3,000 to a high of 15,000 over the entire course of the epidemic. By the end of April, modelers suggest there will be 1600 deaths at the current level of protective measures—a number that could be as low as 200 with extreme protective measures. Such as:

• reducing the number of businesses deemed essential

  • Enhance focus on enforcement and fines for non-compliance.

• Expand direction/guidance on physical distancing, including retail settings.

• Enhanced support for elderly, homeless and other vulnerable populations and


• Consider entry restrictions in some communities including First Nations.

• Human resource management (movement of health care workers between settings).

• Use of technology to reinforce self-isolation (alerts).

• Additional public education and communication (shelter in place with limited


The panel also indicated that even in a best-case scenario, Ontario’s supply of intensive care needs needs to be expanded by 900 beds to have enough capacity for the number of patients who will need them. Without the current protective measures, the ICU system would be overwhelmed by the Middle of the current month.

There was good news in the report. The doctors said that as a result of the distancing and quarantine efforts Already taken, Ontario has probably avoided 4,400 deaths. While not expressed explicitly in the report the figures seemed to be projecting the epidemic to start to decrease by Mid April, again assuming Ontarians continue with social distancing and other protective measures.

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