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Number of cases in Toronto, Ontario and Canada lower than forecasted


TORONTO, ON., APRIL 21, 2020 –– Today, Toronto’s Medical officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa provided an update on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak within the Toronto area. In addition to the latest data, Dr. de Villa conveyed that strong public health measures including the implementation of physical distancing have contributed large in keeping the numbers lower than expected, with the exception of long-term care homes.

“We believe, at this point, that the number of cases to date in Canada, Ontario and locally in Toronto is lower than originally forecasted,” said Dr, de Villa. “This is due in part to the strong public health measures that were put in place early in our outbreak and the fact that our residents took these measures seriously.

“Thank you everyone for following the advice to stay home and practise physical distancing,” said Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. “I know it has been difficult but I hope you are now seeing the benefits of these actions.”

Toronto Public Health provided an infographic illustrating that the trajectory for cases of COVID-19 is lower for Toronto, Ontario and Canada than other countries such as Spain and the United States.

This slide shows that Toronto may be flattening the curve and Canada doing better than many countries in terms of number of cases per million.

As of 12:30 p.m. today Toronto Public Health says there are 3,820 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto. This includes 3,462 confirmed cases and 358 probable ones. There are 281 cases that have been hospitalised, and there are 109 in intensive care units.

Toronto’s medical officer also said that sadly “we continue to see deaths in our community.” Up to this point a total 190 people have died of COVID-19 in Toronto. Dr de Villa said “on behalf of my team, we offer our sincerest condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones to COVID-19.”

Another infographic illustrated how 33% of the cases are in long-term care but sadly 68% of deaths have been in long-term care homes.

The City is looking to support the ten long-term care homes it operates through the redeployment of some members of my team at Toronto Public Health, particularly registered nurses and registered practical nurses, whose unique skills are needed to provide care to some of our city’s most vulnerable residents.

Toronto Public Health also said that although the curve appears to be flattening, there is a good chance the city will experience another COVID-19 wave because a high level of immunity within the community has yet to be achieved.

Dr. de Villa said the virus will continue to spread until many people who have been infected have recovered with an immunity or a vaccine is developed. “We will continue to see COVID-19 spreading in our community until we start to experience herd immunity.” said Dr. de Villa. ” This will not happen until many people are infected with COVID-19 and recover and they build immunity that lasts, or we develop a vaccine. We know that treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19 are several months, if not more than a year away. This is why we continue to ask everyone to stay home and practice physical distancing so that the rate of infection does not overburden our local health system.”

This slide tells the tale of the two outbreaks Toronto is experiencing. We know from our data that we have an outbreak within the general community which we believe is peaking.

In terms of Toronto’s specific long-term care homes and shelters, at Eatonville Care Centre, there are approximately 130 COVID-19 cases at this home, which is an increase of 16 cases since yesterday. Tragically, there have been 30 deaths at this home. While at the Willowdale Welcome Centre, there are approximately 110 positive COVID-19 cases in this setting, associated with the testing efforts undertaken at this site.

Toronto Public Health asserted that the large number of cases reported in these settings is due to a very proactive approach that has been taken within these facilities where all residents and staff have been tested to ensure that there is a good understanding of the status of their outbreaks. And that this approach also allows for thorough follow-up.

Dr. Eileen de Villa also reinforced good physical distancing practice saying “the most important thing you can do is to continue to stay home, stay safe and take care of each other.”

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