Ontario hospitals alarmed by increase in COVID-19 cases and ICU admissions
2020-09-14 from theglobeandmail.com
Ontario’s hospitals are sounding the alarm about rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the province, warning that a spike could force new lockdowns within weeks.
The heads of both the Ontario Hospital Association and the University Health Network, a cluster of Toronto hospitals, spoke out on the weekend about the danger unless people start taking better care. Their warnings came as the province reported its third straight day with more than 200 new COVID-19 cases.
“If growth continues exponentially … we could easily be facing a situation in just a few weeks where the government may have to contemplate measures that no one would want to see it contemplate again,” Ontario Hospital Association president Anthony Dale said in an interview.
“Everything about staying open and trying to live our lives as best we can while the pandemic is here is predicated on controlling community spread, and we’re just, we’re seeing it slip away, I’m afraid, unless we’re far more diligent as individuals.”
Spiking COVID-19 cases in British Columbia prompted that province to clamp down last week on entertainment facilities. Nightclubs and banquet halls were closed, bars and restaurants had their hours reduced and venues were ordered to reduce music to conversational level, so as not to encourage shouting.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott noted that the province had deferred any further loosening of restrictions for four weeks.
“As we’ve said from the outset, we will not hesitate to take further actions should they be recommended by our public health experts,” Alexandra Hilkene wrote in an e-mail. “It remains critical that everyone continue to act responsibly by following public health advice.”
The OHA’s Mr. Dale urged people to stick to the basics of hand-washing and physical distancing, while avoiding unsafe gatherings.
“If we act now, we can continue to live as we have been for the past several months, with a relatively open society,” he said.
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