Provincial Government Says COVID-19 Outbreak Has ‘Likely Peaked in Ontario’ But Virus Is Still A ‘Clear and Present Danger’

Monday April 20th, 2020

Posted at 12:55pm

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The Ontario government says the COVID-19 outbreak has “likely peaked in Ontario” but new modelling released Monday shows physical distancing and public health measures are still needed to prevent further spread.

Provincial officials announced Monday the new modelling shows that the enhanced public health measures, including staying home and physically distancing from each other, are working to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve.

“The modelling clearly demonstrates that we are making progress in our fight against this deadly virus,” said Premier Doug Ford. “That’s due to the actions of all Ontarians, those who are staying home and practising physical distancing, and to the heroic efforts of our frontline health care workers.”

“But COVID-19 continues to be a clear and present danger, especially to our seniors and most vulnerable citizens,” he said. “That is why we must continue to follow the advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and stay the course in order to keep people safe and healthy.”

The government announced the following highlights from the modelling update:

  • The wave of new community spread cases of COVID-19 in Ontario appears to have peaked.
  • Outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a major concern. Concerted actions are underway to protect vulnerable people in these settings.
  • Ontario is now trending toward a best case scenario rather than a worst case scenario and has significantly improved its standing as compared to March modelling.
  • The province has avoided a significant surge in cases. Total cumulative cases are forecast to be substantially lower than worst case or even moderate case scenarios projected by previous models.
  • While several hundred new cases are identified daily in Ontario, hospitals across the province have not been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak as a result of capacity planning and the public health measures currently in place. The rate of growth day-over-day is declining.
  • To further reduce the number of cases and deaths, it remains critical that Ontarians continue to adhere to public health measures, including staying home and practicing physical distancing if they must go out for essential reasons only.

Epidemic Curve: Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases, number of days since the 100th case (Ontario modelling presentation)

“The information released today shows early but unmistakable signs that our efforts are working,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “These numbers are not an accident. They are the result of months of planning and collective action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. However, in order for these projections to become reality, each of us must continue to stay home as much possible and practise physical distancing.”

Epidemic Curve: Cumulative confirmed cases, number of days since the 10th case by 5 Ontario Regions (Central, East, North, Toronto, West) (Ontario modelling presentation)

The government says the provincial declaration of emergency will remain into effect until at least May 12th, which includes restricting social gatherings to five people, the continued closure of all non-essential workplaces, outdoor recreational amenities, public places, and bars and restaurants, expect those that provide takeout and delivery.

The government says all Ontarians should continue to only leave home for essential trips such as accessing health care services, groceries, picking up prescriptions or supporting vulnerable community members with meeting essential needs. If you must leave your home, officials say to go alone and stay at least two metres apart from others.

The full modelling presentation can be viewed online here.

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