New COVID-19 cases in Ontario could hit 10,000 cases a day by January


Published December 16, 2021 at 11:12 am

Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton (not pictured) will soon begin human trials of two inhaled aerosol next generation COVID-19 vaccine boosters. — Stock photo

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario could hit 10,000 cases a day by January according to new data from the province’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

In a briefing on Thursday, the panel said some 53 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases in the province are caused by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, which has a doubling time of 2.2 days.

There could be between 5,000 to 10,000 new cases by next month, according to the new modelling.

The panel said vaccines and public health measures alone will not blunt the rise in cases, and recommended circuit breaker measures and reduced capacity in all indoor settings.

With no additional measures in place, the panel said COVID-19 patients in the ICU could rise to above 400.

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Dean of University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said he believes additional measures could be put into place without shutting down schools or closing businesses.

“With prompt action we can slow down and we can reduce some of the impact of this wave,” he said on Thursday.

Reducing contacts by 50 per cent and stronger health measures could “buy time” against Omicron as the province prepares to expanding booster shot eligibility on Monday.

The province also announced reduced capacity of 50 per cent at any venue with a regular capacity over 1,000, starting on Saturday.

Brown said those capacity limits don’t go far enough.

While it’s still unknown how sever Omicron is compared to the Delta variant, Brown warned that there will still be a rise in ICU occupancy even if the new variant is 25 pre cent less sever.

The new data shows for there could be as many as 455 secondary infections for every 100 people infected with the variant.

The province reported nine deaths and 2,421 new infections on today, up from 1,808 on Wednesday.

The new cases are the highest single-day case count since May 15 when 2,584 new cases were reported across Ontario.

328 people are hospitalized across the province, with 166 patients in ICU.

The table said more than 85 per cent of CCOVID-19 patients in the ICU are unvaccinated.

The province’s expanding booster shot eligibility starts on Monday for anyone 18 years and older who got a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccines at least three months or 84 days earlier.

Appointments can be booked through the Ontario’s booking portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre.

RELATEDFederal government reinstates travel advisory asking Canadians to avoid all non-essential air travel outside Canada.

Two million rapid tests will be provided free of charge at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets, public libraries and transit hubs.

Take-home rapid tests will also be available at select LCBO stores, starting with the busiest stores this week and with more stores being added in the coming days.

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