Forecast suggests Ontario could see 1,000 daily infections as COVID-19 second wave arrives

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health

Ontario is now in its second wave of COVID-19, health officials say and new forecasting suggests that the province may see 1,000 new cases per day in the first half of October.

The government’s modelling report showed that cases are now doubling approximately every 10 to 12 days. They are also affecting all age groups, while previously the 20 to 39 age group had seen the greatest numbers.

A similar jump has been reported in Victoria, British Columbia, Australia and Michigan in the United States. It appears Ontario is on the same trajectory.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott emphasized how critical it is right now for Ontarians to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. “COVID-19 continues to be a serious threat in our communities, and today’s modelling shows the importance of adhering to public health measures,” said Elliott. That includes avoiding large gatherings, social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and wearing mandatory face coverings when in public.

“Over the summer we saw how our collective efforts helped slow the transmission of COVID-19, we must not let our guard down now as we head into the cold and flu season. We all need to do our part and continue to follow all public health measures in place to contain and stop the spread of the virus.” said Elliott.

In anticipation of the fall surge, Ontario has developed a comprehensive plan called: Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. The strategy is designed to equip the province to quickly respond to worst-case scenarios.

While the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) occupancy is currently steady, it is predicted that COVID-19 hospital admissions will rise. It’s also possible Ontario could see between 200 and 300 patients in ICU beds if the current upward trend continues.

On Sept. 19, Ontario lowered limits on private gatherings from 50 indoors to 10 and from 100 outdoors to 25. On Sept. 25, measures were tightened further for restaurants and bars, to make sure they close by midnight and stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m. All strip clubs were also shut down across Ontario.

The modelling report was released as a matter of transparency and to help Ontarians understand how critical it is for everyone to adhere to safety guidelines right now. “With the recent rise in cases, we limited private social gatherings and tightened public health measures for businesses and organizations to reduce the transmission in our communities,” said Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. “We wanted to release this modelling to be open about the challenges our province faces, and the important work we all need to do to flatten the curve.” 

Public health officials said they will continue to closely monitor the situation and advise the public if further restrictions need to be put in place to ensure health and safety in the province.