Peel's top doctor says hospital caseload indicates the worst of COVID-19 is yet to come

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COVID-19 is going to get worse instead of better if current indicators are not reversed, warns Peel’s Medical Officer of Health as hospitals cope with the increase of new cases.

Speaking on CP24 today (Dec. 2), Dr. Lawrence Loh said Peel’s hospitals are struggling to keep up with the flow of new patients and both the William Osler Health System and Trillium Health Partners are being forced to provide care in non-traditional spaces and to cancel elective surgeries.

“Our hospitals are both still at capacity and they are cancelling elective surgeries and they are also starting to provide care in non-traditional spaces which really means that things are probably going to get worse before they get better,” said Dr. Loh.

Peel hospitals account for 20 per cent of all patients being treated for COVID-19 in Ontario.

Loh suggested even though Peel’s COVID numbers have been generally lower the past week, the lag time between when a person contracts the virus and when they may be forced into the hospital makes it difficult to predict if the situation is getting better or worse.

However, Peel still has Ontario’s highest weekly incident rate with 185 infections per 100,000 residents, numbers that substantiate the dire warning that worst-case scenarios may still be before us.

Pointing out that highly publicized gatherings in mid-November are accounting for the new cases that Peel is experiencing now, Dr. Loh said only time will tell if the latest lockdown measures are working to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

“The hope is that if we will continue to see consistent numbers throughout this week and into next week, we will then see the impacts of the interventions that were brought in around the grey lockdown to reduce contacts and interactions, and thus slow transmission in our community,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said although some Ontario hospital systems including William Osler are at capacity because of the virus, the situation is being handled efficiently.

“To say they are in crisis is not the case,” said Elliot. “We are not at that stage. We have the rooms and we have the ventilators.”

She continued saying Queen’s Park is taking a regional approach to cancelled surgeries and if a hospital can’t handle a procedure, the patient may be able to have it done at another, nearby hospital.

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