Ontario on Track for Good Summer Despite Small Risk of Fourth Wave, Modelling Suggests

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COVID-19 cases in Ontario are dropping sharply and whereas the threat of a fourth wave caused by the delta variant still exists it is unlikely, according to health officials.

Officials launched updated COVID-19 modeling data on Thursday, which depicts a much better control over the pandemic in Ontario than in former updates.

“We’ve turned the corner in our progress against the pandemic,” Science table co-chair Dr. Adalsteinn Brown said. “We can look forward to a much better summer.”

As per the modeling, cases should continue to drop for at least the next ten days in Ontario.

Infections have already dropped sharply in nearly all public health units over the last few weeks.

COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care admissions have additionally continued to fall.

If Ontario continues to control COVID-19, the modeling suggests intensive care admissions will drop to below 200 bymid-July and normal hospital operations can restart.

HOW ONTARIO PLANS TO AVOID A FOURTH WAVE

To avoid a fourth wave, officials say Ontario needs to ensure full immunization in high-risk communities with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The delta variant, which is expected to become the region’s dominant strain early this summer, is around 50% more transmissible than the B.1.1.7, or alpha, variant.

Officials say the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine is less effective in protecting the delta variant.

A second shot of the vaccine adds 50% effectiveness, according to officials.

“To be clear,we are not out of the woods just yet,” Brown said. “Our ICUs still have more COVID-19 patients than they did at the peak of the second wave and the delta variant, the variant that hit India so hard, is here and is on track to be the dominant form of the virus this summer but we believe we can control it with the right action.”

“This is not a doomsday scenario … We have a really good chance of a good summer.”

Ontario announced on Thursday it will start speeding up second shots for persons who received their first dose on or before May 9 in seven hotspot areas where the delta variant is a concern.

Persons in hotspots within Halton, Porcupine, Peel, Waterloo, Toronto, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York public health units will be eligible to book their second Pfizer or Moderna doses through the provincial booking system as of 8 a.m. on June 14.

In a best-case scenario, Ontario’s daily COVID-19 case count will remain under 500 during the summer.

In a medium scenario, that number could spike back up to almost 1,000 cases per day by August.

In a worst-case scenario, cases will jump to 2,500 each day by the middle of August.

Health officials recorded 590 new cases on Thursday, as well as 11 deaths related to the coronavirus.

In total, more than 10.6m vaccine doses have made it into the arms of Ontario residents. To date, 1.3 million people have received two doses and are considered fully vaccinated.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said Thursday that many of the people getting infected with coronavirus in Ontario are those who have not received the first dose.

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