COVID-19 modelling: Ontario 'doing well' now but the situation is 'fragile' heading into the winter months

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Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table

While new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU occupancy in Ontario are not significantly increasing generally, new modelling data from the province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table indicates Ontario's pandemic situation is "fragile" heading into the cooler months of the year.

The projections show that if there is no change in behaviour or policy in Ontario, daily COVID-19 cases will exceed 1,000 in October, continuing to increase into November.

Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table
Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table

It is also estimated that ICU occupancy could exceed 300 beds by the end of October.

Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table
Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table

"Continued control over case growth requires high vaccination rates in the eligible population, continued public health measures, and a flattening of growth in mobility," the findings from Ontario's Science Advisory Table read.

Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table
Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table

"Unvaccinated people have a 7-fold higher risk of symptomatic COVID-19 disease, a 25-fold higher risk of being in the hospital and 60-fold higher risk of being in the ICU compared to the fully vaccinated."

Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table
Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table

While vaccines have flattened the fourth wave of the pandemic for many, COVID-19 cases in children, particularly kids between the ages of five and 11, have increased significantly.

Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table
Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table

Overall, the expectation is that COVID-19 patients in ICU will be younger than previous waves of the virus.

Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table
Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus Table

The new information released by Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table also cautions that "long COVID" will "substantially impact the health of thousands of Ontarians."

"About 1 in 10 individuals with COVID-19 infection will continue to have symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks (estimated 57,000 to 78,000 individuals in Ontario based on data up to August 2021)," the information reads.

Post-COVID-19 conditions could increase incidence of new chronic disease, like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The data states that the longest follow-up study, which is 12 months after infection, shows that 12 per cent of infected individuals had not returned to work and of those who returned, 24 per cent had not returned to their pre-COVID-19 level of work.

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