The latest COVID-19 modelling, released Tuesday in a briefing at Queen’s Park, shows that Ontario’s health-care system is on the verge of being overwhelmed by the latest surge in cases. Outbreaks, including in long-term care, have spread across the province and are no longer concentrated in the GTA; one-quarter of the province’s hospitals have zero free ICU beds, while a further quarter have only one or two; and deaths from the pandemic could exceed 100 per day by the end of February.
And those projections don’t include the potential for more infectious variants of the coronavirus to run wild in the province, something that could bring the doubling time for new cases down to as little as 10 days by March.
This same modelling has informed cabinet’s debate about what kind of new measures to impose to try and reduce infections and deaths, and it includes a list of measures that have been tried in other jurisdictions: stay-at-home orders, the closure of non-essential retail, workplace shutdowns, compulsory masking outdoors, and testing blitzes are all listed as potential responses.
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“Without significant reductions in contacts, the health system will be overwhelmed and mortality will exceed the first wave totals before a vaccine has time to take effect,” the briefing concludes.
The full briefing can be read below. Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to announce the government’s new public-health measures at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.