Rising COVID-19 Numbers in Causing Concern for Ontario Hospitals

COVID-19 update

Keeping the Focus and Staying Vigilant Can Reduce COVID-19

THUNDER BAY – Cases of COVID-19 are ramping up. Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Theresa Tam says, “Over the past week, an average of 633 cases are now being reported daily across Canada, which is more than 20% higher than last week as this disease activity indicator continues a slow and steady increase nationally.”

Ontario is seeing over 200 cases a day, one-third of all the reported cases in Canada. Currently, in Thunder Bay District there are no active cases of COVID-19. There was the first case in the Porcupine Health District impacting the James Bay region reported on Saturday.

Across northern Ontario, there have been few cases of COVID-19 on remote fly-in communities. Some are raising concern that those numbers could ramp up if precautions are lifted. Indigenous Services Canada said on Friday, “There has been a resurgence of positive case numbers among First Nations individuals living on-reserve this week, similar to those being observed for the general Canadian population. This trend is moving in the wrong direction and serves as an important reminder of the importance to remain vigilant as we enter fall. We urge everyone to follow public health measures to keep COVID-19 cases down.”

These increases in confirmed cases have the Ontario Hospital Association raising concern.

“We are all in this together and our collective success depends on each of us making the right choices. Ultimately, skipping a dinner party or a wedding that isn’t safe is a very small sacrifice to make to protect our loved ones and people who are particularly vulnerable to the threat of COVID-19. Our message from March 21st remains relevant today. Ultimately it is up to the many to protect the lives of the few,” states Anthony Dale, President and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association.

In a media statement, “As the province experiences a steady upward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) reminds all Ontarians of the importance of personal responsibility and sticking with the public health measures that are essential to saving lives and preventing a second wave of this deadly pandemic.”

Not Giving up Hard Fought Ground in Battle Against COVID-19

Thanks to the sacrifice and responsible actions of millions of Ontarians, the province experienced a low number of COVID-19 cases through much of the summer. Unfortunately, Ontario’s COVID-19 reproduction rate is now over 1 and the spread of infection is accelerating. Daily case growth is now over 200, a clear warning sign that our hard-won progress is slipping away. It is the responsibility of each of us to take steps immediately to halt this alarming trend.”

“It has been a long six months, and fatigue around public health protocols and restrictions is a reality for some. Other people may have been lulled into a false sense of security by lower cases counts and the re-opening of the economy. Make no mistake, COVID-19 is still a very real threat. Without continued vigilance, today’s isolated outbreaks in Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa could easily spread throughout communities right across Ontario. If current trends continue to accelerate, economic restrictions may tighten once more, and the school year for our children will be in jeopardy.”

Dr. Tam adds, “Along with the continued increase in daily case counts over the past several weeks, outbreaks are being reported in a greater variety of settings, including private social gatherings and celebrations, community settings and indoor events/public settings, with a large number of exposures and infections linked to single gatherings/events. This is a reminder that just because you may know the people attending an event outside of your household/close-contacts bubble, it doesn’t mean there is a reduced risk of COVID-19. In fact, it is in these familiar settings where we may be most apt to let our guard down, increasing our risk of infection and unintentionally spreading the virus to others in our homes, workplaces and communities.”

Parties and Large Gatherings

The OHA says, “On behalf of Ontario’s hospitals – the anchor of Ontario’s pandemic response and the last line of defence in the long war against COVID-19 – we implore the people of Ontarians to strictly adhere to the public health measures that helped bring wave one under control and allowed Ontario to re-open its economy. All Ontarians must continue to wash their hands frequently, practice physical distancing, wear masks when required, stay home when they are sick, and neither host nor attend unsafe gatherings and parties.

“For months, Ontario’s hospital workers have worked selflessly to fight COVID-19. Let’s not allow their sacrifices to be wasted or ask them to work again under extraordinarily demanding conditions. Thousands of people were denied access to hospital care when elective procedures were shut down in March. Let’s stay vigilant so that hospitals can catch up on the backlog and ensure that people get access to the health services they need.”


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