According to public health officials in Ontario, the province is on pace to see 1,000 new daily cases in October; if cases continue to rise at this rate, it will cause undue stress on hospitals.
As the number of new cases continues to increase, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is calling for the Province to relegate Ontario to Stage 2.
“A return to Stage 2, with restrictions on indoor dining and bars, places of worship, weddings, gyms, movie theatres, and other non-essential businesses, is needed now to keep schools open and prevent a further acceleration of infections,” Anthony Dale, president and CEO of the OHA, said in a news release.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals have been operating assessment centres, conducting laboratory testing, and deploying staff to assist in long-term care. However, there is concern an influx in COVID-19 patients will prevent staff from being able to perform these tasks.
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“Without public health measures in place to limit opportunities for disease transmission, Ontario will soon see higher numbers of hospitalizations, admissions to intensive care units (ICUs), and more deaths,” Dale continued.
Additionally, hospital occupancy levels are rapidly rising, with a large portion of the stand-by capacity created at the onset of the pandemic having already been filled—the acute care occupancy rate is 89 per cent with several hospitals hovering around the 100 per cent level.
Further, the OHA has acknowledged that reverting to Stage 2 will have significant, negative effects on many businesses throughout Ontario, which is why they’re urging the government to provide for assistance for businesses to facilitate necessary closures.
“Emerging evidence clearly illustrates that indoor settings like bars and restaurants have become significant drivers of rising COVID-19 cases. Moreover, keeping these settings open while restricting private gatherings sends a confusing message to the public,” Dale said.