Public health modelling predicts Ontario could hit its COVID-19 peak this week and then start to decline, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says.
If Ontario residents continue to practice social distancing — something the vast majority have been doing — then the crisis could begin to ebb after the peak, she said.
“There will still be cases, but we’ll be on the downside,” Yaffe said Monday. “So that does give me a glimmer of hope but with some caution built in.”
Ontario confirmed 421 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the second day in a row with a 6% increase in new cases.
The province has 7,470 confirmed cases overall with 291 deaths, a daily increase of 17.
The greatest number of lives lost — 120 — has been among residents of long-term care homes where there have been 89 outbreaks.
Premier Doug Ford said he wants every resident in a long-term care home tested for COVID-19.
“We have a duty to take care of those who cannot look after themselves,” Ford said, adding his own mother-in-law is in a residence that his wife, Karla, is not allowed to enter.
Ontario public health testing guidelines do not go that far. They recommend that even in cases where COVID-19 has been confirmed in a long-term care home or retirement home, only asymptomatic contacts of the confirmed case, including residents in adjacent rooms, be tested.
The Ontario government has yet to order part-time workers to stop going to multiple jobs at different long-term care facilities, although it is recommended, Yaffe said.
Such a move, as has occurred in British Columbia, would likely still have an effect in stopping the spread of the coronavirus in long-term care homes, she said.
A pregnant nurse, who told the Toronto Sun a week ago that staff in long-term care homes were not being given appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), said they are now supplied with gowns and masks.
“But I think it was really too late,” the source said Monday. “The government missed it… That’s why we’re really getting growing numbers of infected older people in nursing homes, because they missed that.”
In the two most deadly outbreaks, 22 residents died at the Seven Oaks long-term care facility in Scarborough and 29 residents passed away at the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon.