Recently released provincial modelling suggests that Ontario’s COVID-19 case counts will remain stable, even with more social contacts, if some public health measures remain in place.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table released their updated projections on Friday. The team cited favourable numbers due to high vaccination rates in the province and continued public health measures but it cautioned the need to keep some measures in place and focus on vaccinating young children when they are eligible.
In three scenarios (worst to best), case counts are projected to remain under 700 by the end of November in the worst case with the best case scenario looking at around 200 new cases by the end of the month.
The scenarios were based on a substantial increase in contact between people, some increased contact and remaining status quo with no change in behaviour or policy. All models assume public health measures such as masking, vaccine certificates, ventilation and symptom screening continue.
Ontario has seen declining case counts daily over the last month with the seven-day average going from around 700 to 400. Active cases have also dropped. However, most but not all local public health units are seeing a decline in cases.
In addition, hospitalizations and those in intensive care units have remained stable over the last several weeks. It is also expected that these will remain stable until the end of November in all scenarios.
Testing and test positivity in the province has remained flat, the science table noted.
The science table cautioned that lifting public health measures can drive a new wave, even with strong vaccine coverage pointing at what has happened in some Nordic countries such as Denmark and Finland who opened up too much and too quickly.
Child and youth vaccination against COVID-19
The science table also said moving into the colder months, vaccinating children will be key, once it is approved by Health Canada.
Children aged 11 and younger are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and remain unprotected.
“If we adopt smart, tailored strategies – like working with children, parents, schools, and communities – we can set the course for a strong immunization program in children when the vaccine is approved in younger age groups,” the science table noted in its report.
The science table also said that vaccination continues to be highly effective. It said unvaccinated people have a seven-fold higher risk of symptomatic COVID-19 disease, a 17-fold higher risk of being in the hospital and a 23-fold higher risk of being in the ICU compared to people who are fully vaccinated.
“We’re not seeing much waning immunity after vaccination in the general population — but of course, we’re watching,” the science table said.
The latest provincial figures show that in Ontario, over 87 per cent of people aged 12-plus have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 83.6 per cent are fully vaccinated.
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