covid-19 vaccine news

Ontario reported 2,938 cases of COVID-19 on Monday as Peel Region shuts schools

Ontario is reporting 2,938 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a decrease from the 3,041 cases reported Sunday, 3,009 cases reported on Saturday, and 3,089 cases reported on Friday. Monday’s numbers include 906 new cases in Toronto, 533 in Peel, 391 in York Region, 230 in Ottawa, and 140 in Durham.

Nearly 36,600 tests were completed on April 4, and nearly 46,400 tests on April 3.

The numbers come as Ontario enters its first full week of a 28-day province-wide lockdown — and ICU beds continue to fill up. The number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario is 942; 494 patients are in the ICU due to COVID-related critical illnesses, and 293 patients are in ICU on ventilators due to COVID-related critical illnesses.

Today, Peel Region announced it will be closing all schools in Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga. Peel Public Health issued a Section 22 order under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act.

 

 

Last Thursday, a group of intensive care unit doctors from across the province wrote an open letter to Premier Doug Ford’s government, pleading for new public health measures to help curb the COVID-19 spread. The letter, signed by more than 150 physicians, states that we are being “led down a very dangerous path” by using ICU capacity as a benchmark for tolerance of the COVID-19 spread.

“We are seeing younger patients on ventilators — many are parents of school-aged children. We are seeing entire families end up in our ICUs. We are caring for people who have contracted COVID-19 at work, or who have followed all the rules and only gone out for groceries,” the letter reads. “The impact of this virus has been disproportionate, infecting those with the highest exposure risk, commonly from lower income and racialized communities. The current measures and framework are not working to contain the spread of this virus.”

The letter continues that growth of variants of concern in Ontario is exponential, and that trying to “adjust our public health response to ICU capacity” won’t break the chains of transmission.

“Countries attempting this approach faced massive numbers of deaths and had pushed hospital capacity beyond its limits. Many of those jurisdictions have more expansive hospital and ICU capacity than Ontario does,” the letter states, with the physicians noting that, at the current rate, they won’t have enough staff to manage demand for COVID and non-COVID ICU care.

The letter also notes that the surgical backlog will take years to overcome and that early-stage cancers are going to be missed. Although funding to deal with COVID-19 has helped, staffing hasn’t significantly increased, and other services, including surgeries and diagnostic imaging, have been delayed.

“As ICU doctors, we are the last line of defence and we are ringing the alarm bell. Please hear us. We implore you to act now.”

 

 

To help combat the pressure facing hospitals, some are calling on the government to quicken vaccine distribution. As of 8 p.m. Sunday, 2,545,640 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. The province is currently in Phase 2 of vaccine administration, meaning approximately nine million Ontario residents are expected to receive their first vaccination during the Phase 2 rollout between April and July. While restaurant workers were eventually included as part of the Phase 2 vaccine distribution, some are suggesting that people who work in factories and other essential workplaces should also be included in this phase.

Dr. Amit Arya, a palliative care physician at McMaster University, provided an apt example in a tweet on Sunday showing how a 55-year-old executive who works from home in Kingston is currently eligible for the vaccine, but not a 30-year-old who works in a factory with 300 people, takes the bus, and lives with extended family in Peel.

“With 985,732 doses in freezers, this is NEITHER speed NOR precision,” Dr. Arya added.

 

 

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Article exclusive to TRNTO