Published Thursday, December 10, 2020 5:14AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 10, 2020 5:19PM EST
The modelling looked at four different paths that the province could take depending on the growth in cases between now and early January.
It suggests that if infections grow at a rate of three per cent over the next month, which is a slightly accelerated pace compared to the 2.47 per cent growth rate we have seen over the last 14 days, we would end up with roughly 5,000 daily cases and nearly 400 people in the ICU by Jan. 8.
The worst case scenario, which is based on the five per cent growth rate that Ontario briefly saw in November prior to lockdowns being put in place in Toronto and Peel, points to nearly 10,000 daily cases by early January with more than 500 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.
As of this morning, there were 228 patients in Ontario ICUs suffering from COVID-19 and the rolling seven-day average of new cases stood at 1,862.
“This not evenly distributed across the province. This is not a few beds in every hospital. This is heavily concentrated in Peel and Toronto and when ICUs become heavily affected by COVID like this you really do start to see interruption in service, including necessary and emergency service,” Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, the Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and co-chair of Ontario's COVID-19 science table, warned during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. “So we are over the threshold at which we believe we have to start cancelling and delaying elective surgery and we are now into that threshold, particularly in a number of communities, where important care is being delayed.”
25 daily deaths by later this month
While the growth in cases has slowed since earlier in November when the modelling suggested that we could be at 3,500 to 6,500 daily cases by this point, it has not yet plateaued.
Hospitalizations and deaths also continue to increase at an alarming level.
The new modelling released on Thursday points out that over the last month the number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals has risen by 91 per cent while the number of patients in intensive care is up nearly 166 per cent.
It says that even if case growth were to freeze, there would still be nearly 250 COVID-19 patients in the ICU for the better part of the next month. That number is precariously close to the first wave peak of 264 COVID-19 patients in the ICU, which came at a time when hospitals were suspending all elective surgeries and procedures en masse.
Meanwhile, the modelling suggests that the most likely scenario will see Ontario record more than 25 daily deaths due to COVID-19 by the end of the month. It is a far cry from the more than 80 daily deaths that the province was reporting in April when the virus was running rampant through long-term care homes but nonetheless represents a jarring increase.
“25 deaths may seem like a small number per day but it is significant enough to put it among the most important causes of deaths in the province on a daily basis,” Brown said.