TORONTO - Whether or not one may be suffering suffering from “Covid-fatigue”, the direction in which the cases are increasing is enough to shake anyone awake. In the last six days, the province has reported well over a thousand daily new cases and 80 fatalities attributable to Covid-19.
Late October, provincial health officials released modelling data suggesting the worsecase scenario could see the seven-day average between one to two thousand cases a day for most of November. On November 11th, a record-high of 1,426 new infections was reported, bringing the 7-day average to 1,217.
The province has adapted a regional approach to help stop the spread of the virus using a colour-coded framework for Covid-19 restrictions. Despite completing a 28-day period last week where parts of the GTA scaled back into modified stage two to help control the rate of infection, cases continue to rise. Even now, record high cases are reported daily in the city of Toronto and Peel Region.
Undeniably, the situation is worsening in the Region of Peel, now in the Red-control stage.
The Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, has added more stringent measures to help control the spread within the community. The added measures are causing confusion and frustrations among area residents, businesses and restaurants.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said “communication to businesses, faith-based organizations and the citizens could have been better”. Previous modeling data revealed that restaurants, bars and gyms were not the main source of the increase in case outbreaks.
The reality now is there is widespread transmission throughout the community. The positivity rate of viral infection in Mississauga is at 6.5%. Mayor Crombie did not hold back saying the virus was “fully unleashed” in the city. Peel Region's municipal mayors are in support of Dr. Loh’s recommendations.
The goal is to reduce the impact of the second wave and to avoid a full scale “lockdown”.
At the moment, Brampton’s William Osler Health System has exceeded its capacity to handle new cases and has cancelled some elective surgeries to cope with the overflow.
The situation at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga is not much better: it has reached a load of 100% capacity.
According to Dr. Loh, the ability to contact trace is being severely challenged. The Province is providing further assistance to the region with setting up additional testing sites and adding another 70 case and contact management staff.
While Covid-19 may have more severe outcomes in older adults - especially those with more complex pre-existing medical conditions - there is no particular group that it infects. The virus does not discriminate between age, gender, race or religious belief.
Dr. Loh’s additional restrictions to the ones mandated by the Provincial framework included recommendations that religious services be held virtually; otherwise, a reduced indoor capacity to 30% and to a maximum of 50 people per facility. This had community members signing a petition asking city mayors and the medical officer of health to reconsider the 50-person maximum limit and simply revert to the 30% maximum capacity per facility.
The prayers of the faithful have been answered, for now. As long as proper protocols, face coverings and conditions for physical distancing and are met, the 30% of capacity will be allowed. But everyone must do what they can to contain and reduce the rate of infection.