Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table says the fourth wave in the province has “flattened” and issued what it describes as a “wide range” of case estimates in the fall.
In modeling released on Tuesday, the group said the total number of new cases, hospitalizations and those in the intensive care unit were not increasing. It attributed the flattening of the fourth wave to continued public health measures and vaccination.
However, the science table said that cases among children are on the rise.
“There is a wide range for case estimates, reflecting a delicate situation and a high degree of volatility as cooler weather comes with more time indoors,” said a document released by the group.
“Sustained control over case escalation requires high vaccination rates in eligible populations, continued public health measures, and a flattening of the increase in mobility.”
Case estimates range from less than 500 per day to more than 5,000 per day for shows from early October to November.
The group noted that uncertainty remains because it is still “too early” to see the impact of increased contacts with the recent return to schools and workplaces, as the weather cools and people stay indoors. The time spent inside will also increase.
The table also noted that there remains uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine against infection.
In early September, Science Table released estimates that showed a fourth wave had begun in Ontario and that the wave would be “substantial.” Worst-case estimates stood at 9,000 daily cases by October, or marginally at 4,000, or around 500 in a best-case scenario.
Ontario has moved to best conditions in September. Over the past four weeks, the number of daily cases in Ontario has stabilized and has never reached more than 1,000 in a day, with daily cases fluctuating between 450 and 950.
It also appears that cases are slowly trending downward with a seven-day average of 606 on Tuesday, up from a month ago when it stood at 710.
As of Tuesday, Ontario reported that 80.5 percent of the eligible population (ages 12 and older) have been fully vaccinated, with 86 percent receiving a single dose.
Estimates released Tuesday also showed estimates of intensive care unit occupancy ranged from 200 beds to more than 300 by the end of October. However, the group noted that hospital and ICU occupancy “have been stable for several weeks.”
The science table also said that about one in 10 people who get COVID-19 will experience “prolonged COVID” – symptoms that can last for more than 12 weeks.
The group said that could “considerably” affect the health care system.
The Science Table noted that the vaccines are effective against exposure to COVID-19, resulting in hospitalization and experiencing “prolonged COVID” symptoms.
Alexandra Hilken, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott, released a statement on the modeling.
“Today’s modeling further reinforces that as a result of Ontario’s extremely cautious approach, which includes maintaining robust public health measures such as indoor masking, the province’s public health and health care indicators remain stable or are improving ,” He said.
“In fact, Ontario continues to report one of the lowest rates of active cases in the country, well below the national average, as we trended toward the best-case scenario predicted in previous modeling.
“Implementation of vaccine certifications in high-risk settings will help protect the progress of the province’s hard-fought battle. We are seeing the impact of this policy, with thousands more rolling up their sleeves for the first and second doses every day. “
Hilken said the province would continue to take a “cautious” approach in the fight against COVID-19 and make decisions based on medical advice.
— With files from Gabby Rodrigues
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