On April 20, 2020, the Ontario government released updated COVID-19 modelling, which shows that the enhanced public health measures are working to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. The updated data was presented by President and CEO of Ontario Health Matthew Anderson; Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown; and Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe.
Following the release of the new modelling data, Premier Doug Ford held a media availability and delivered remarks about ongoing work to develop a framework for lifting restrictions in Ontario. Premier Ford was joined by Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Long-Term Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton.
Updated COVID-19 Modelling Data – Ontario Health Officials
The updated COVID-19 modelling data released today shows that the enhanced public health measures, including staying home and physically distancing from each other, are working to contain the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, Steini Brown revealed this afternoon that Ontario appears to be in the peak period for COVID-19 community transmission. This differs from the earlier model which indicated a peak of cases in May. The acceleration of the peak has occurred as a result of successful public health interventions and suggests that Ontario may soon begin seeing a reduction in new cases of the virus.
Steini Brown added that Ontario has avoided a significant surge in cases and is trending toward a best-case scenario, which is a significant improvement from the modelling released earlier this month. The number of expected cases during the current wave of the pandemic is now 20,000.
Despite the success of public health interventions in slowing community spread of COVID-19, health officials noted that COVID-19 in Ontario is progressing along two distinct curves: general community spread and spread through long-term care (LTC) and other congregate settings. Although Ontario is currently at the peak of its community spread curve, the province remains in the accelerating upswing phase of the curve in LTC homes, homeless shelters and other congregate settings.
President and CEO of Ontario Health Matthew Anderson added that the success of public health interventions in slowing community transmission has created capacity in Ontario’s acute care system which can be redeployed to other parts of society, particularly the LTC sector, to slow the spread of COVID-19 among the province’s vulnerable populations. An expert panel has also begun looking at methods of returning the rest of Ontario’s health care system.
Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe stressed that Ontarians need to remain focused on continuing to adhere to public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including staying home and practicing physical distancing during essential trips out of the home.
Framework for Lifting Restrictions – Premier Doug Ford
Speaking after the release of the updated modelling data, Premier Ford commended the collective efforts of Ontarians for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the province. He shared that he has asked Ontario’s Jobs and Recovery Committee to develop a framework for a gradual, measured and safe reopening of the province based on today’s data.
Premier Ford added that the framework to be developed by the Jobs and Recovery Committee will have strict criteria and key benchmarks that must be met before lifting or easing restrictions in the province. The framework will be informed by ongoing monitoring of trends, the advice of Dr. Williams, Ontario’s businesses community, and municipalities. The economy will be “turned back on” slowly and methodically, in consultation with as many people as possible.