Today, Toronto Public Health reports a case count of 447. In this instance the figure is not a single day or record high. The highest recent figure remains 374 confirmed cases on October 26, 2020. Today’s case count figure is the result of an unusually high amount of data being input after staff illnesses and deployment of other staff for training on the new provincial software system for case and contact management. This batching of data entry accounts for approximately 100 cases, which, if not included, would have been consistent with the level of recent case counts, in the low to mid-300 range. We expect further occasional impacts on data are possible as the new system is implemented.
On October 9, the Province announced a 28-day modified Stage 2 in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 between people. That period has not ended. There remains reason to believe a decline in virus spread will result from it.
Despite the anticipated impact of modified Stage 2, current high case count numbers are possible. Case count numbers fluctuate even during periods where infection spread is high. A single day figure does not indicate a trend for better or worse, and this is why a 7-day moving average is used by Toronto Public Health and our colleagues to understand virus activity. While case counts are high, in contrast, today’s numbers illustrate that hospitalizations and ICU admissions remain at stable levels. Additionally outbreaks within schools remain at comparatively low levels.
What the case counts do indicate is that we must all consider carefully where we go and what we do. I know it is hard to keep apart but, for now, when you have the option to do that I ask you to make that choice. I share with many of my peers in health care the belief that the case counts at present are in part a consequence of socializing over Thanksgiving. I cannot agree these outcomes are worth the risks taken whenever people spend time together in any way that helps the virus to spread. There is still so much we do not know about the long-term effects of COVID-19, but as a physician what I have learned concerns me greatly. I urge you not to gamble with your health or anyone else’s.
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