Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday April 1, 2021
Ontario reports more than 2300 new COVID-19 cases as ICU numbers reach record high
Ontario health officials reported more than 2,300 new cases of COVID-19 as the province reached a record high number of people battling the disease in its intensive care units.
The province confirmed 2,333 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. Daily case numbers have remained above the 2,000 mark for seven straight days.
The province’s seven-day average for number of cases recorded is now 2,316, up from 1,676 one week ago.
With 52,532 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province says its COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 4.8 per cent after two days above the six per cent mark.
The latest Critical Care Services Ontario report, obtained by CTV News Toronto on Wednesday morning, shows there are currently 421 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) across the province with COVID-19.
The total marks the highest number of COVID-19 patients in critical care at one time since the pandemic began. The last time the ICU admission total surpassed 400 was in January during the height of the pandemic’s second wave.
“We’re in a critical spot today,” Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, said on Wednesday.
“This is a train heading down the tracks and it’s going to take a while to slow it down. So even if we implement significant public health measures today, we could see ICU numbers hit 500, but if we don’t, that’s when things could really get bad.”
Meanwhile, CTV News Toronto has learned the Ontario government will announce Thursday that it will force the province into a month-long shutdown.
According to the government’s guidelines, a shutdown—indicated as a sixth tier in the government’s framework—is similar to the old grey zone rules in which retail is allowed to open with strict capacity limits, indoor dining remains closed and gyms are shuttered.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday that he was prepared to act swiftly.
“I’m very, very concerned to see the cases go up. I’m very concerned to see the ICU capacity and we all have to be vigilant,” he said. “I’m just asking people don’t gather in large groups, don’t have big, big gatherings and follow the protocols.”
Warner said the province must focus on implementing public health restrictions as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues.
“We need to protect the health and safety of people, set economic interests aside for now, and get some control over what’s happening to all of us right now,” he said. (CTV)