NEW MODELLING: Officials warn health system will be overwhelmed, deaths could exceed first wave


New modelling from the provincial government shows if we stay on our current trajectory, we could see 100 deaths each day between now and February.

That's one of the stark statistics detailed by the province's COVID-19 modelling table, headed by Dr. Adalsteinn Brown.

Without a significant reduction in in-person contacts, the health system will be overwhelmed and the number of deaths will exceed the totals in the first wave, before the vaccines have enough time to take effect.

The health table says with more than 400 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds, surgeries are being cancelled and a lack of access to care will have "real consequences" for the health of Ontarians.

On the long-term care front, nearly 40 per cent of homes have active COVID-19 outbreaks. Since the start of this year, 198 long-term care residents and two staff members have died of the virus.

Forecasts are suggesting more deaths in the second wave than the first for long-term care.

The health table also points out that mobility and contacts between people have not decreased with current restrictions. 

"Survey data show that the majority of Ontarians are helping limit spread by following them," a key finding in the modelling states. "However, case numbers will not decline until more of the population follows their example."

Officials are also sounding the alarm over the new UK variant of COVID-19, saying it could drive much higher case counts, ICU occupancy and mortality if community spread occurs.

According to projections, the long-term care residents deaths could top 2,600 by Valentine's Day.