TORONTO – COVID-19 cases are falling rapidly in Ontario and while the risk of a fourth wave caused by the delta variant still exists, it is unlikely, health officials say.
Officials unveiled updated COVID-19 modeling data on Thursday, indicating better control of the pandemic in Ontario than in previous updates.
“We have turned the corner in our progress against the pandemic,” said Dr. Edelstein Brown, co-chair of the Science Table. “We can expect a better summer.”
According to modeling, cases in Ontario should continue to decline for at least the next 10 days.
Infections have already declined sharply in almost all public health units over the past few weeks.
COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care admissions also continue to decline.
If Ontario continues to control COVID-19, modeling suggests that admissions to intensive care will drop below 200 by mid-July and general hospital operations may resume.
How did Ontario plan to survive the fourth wave?
To avoid a fourth wave, officials say Ontario needs to ensure full immunization in high-risk communities with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The delta version, which is expected to become the province’s predominant strain early this summer, is about 50 percent more permeable than the B.1.1.
Officials say the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is less effective at protecting against the delta variant.
Officials said the second dose of the vaccine adds 50 percent effectiveness.
“To be clear, we’re not out of the woods yet,” Brown said. “We still have more COVID-19 patients in our ICU than the second wave and delta version, which hits India so hard, is here and on its way to becoming the dominant form of the virus this summer But we believe we can control it with the right action.”
“It’s not a doomsday … we have a really good chance of a good summer.”
Ontario announced Thursday that it will begin accelerating second doses for individuals who received their first shots on or before May 9 in seven hot spot areas where the delta variant is a concern.
Individuals living in hot spots within the Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Duffrin-Guelph and York public health units may be required to book their second Pfizer or Modern dose through the provincial booking system starting at 8 a.m. on 14 June. will be eligible.
In a best-case scenario, Ontario’s daily number of COVID-19 cases will remain under 500 during the summer.
In a moderate scenario, this number could go back to around 1,000 cases per day by August.
In a worst-case scenario, the cases will rise to 2,500 per day by mid-August.
Health officials on Thursday recorded 590 new infections, as well as 11 deaths from the novel coronavirus.
In total, more than 10.6 million vaccine doses have made it into the arms of Ontarians. So far, 1,399,776 people have received two shots and are considered fully vaccinated.
Dr Barbara Yaffe, Associate Medical Officer of Health, said on Thursday that most people infected with COVID-19 in Ontario are those who have not received the first dose.