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Coronavirus: Peel Region seeing ‘holiday surge at worst time,’ says public health

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Ontario models project as many as 20,000 cases per day, many more long-term care deaths' Coronavirus: Ontario models project as many as 20,000 cases per day, many more long-term care deaths
WATCH ABOVE: New modelling numbers show Ontario is currently on track for as many as 20,000 cases a day, and the daily total could climb as high as 40,000 cases in the worst-case scenario. As Matthew Bingley reports, officials are bracing for the impacts in hospitals and more than a thousand more deaths in long-term care homes – Jan 12, 2021
Peel Public Health says Brampton and the region of Peel as a whole is experiencing a COVID-19 “holiday [case] surge at the worst time.”

Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Medical Officer of Health, said Brampton’s test positivity rate is at 17.4 per cent this week, up from 16.9 per cent last week. There is now 350.8 cases of coronavirus per 100,000, up from 278.9 last week.

Read more: Coronavirus: Ontario declares 2nd state of emergency, issues stay-at-home order

“One in five tests is coming back positive for COVID-19,” Loh said. “What that means is, looking at both the testing being done as well as the numbers of cases … we’re seeing a significant increase in the risk and a significant increase in the transmission that is occurring in our community.”

Loh said, to put it in perspective, that the World Health Organization said positivity rates should be kept at around three per cent or less.

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“So we are significantly magnitudes above that and it represents just the risk that exists with any sort of interaction with people outside of your home,” he said.

Both Loh and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown welcome the new restrictions and stay-at-home order issued by the provincial government Tuesday.

Read more: Ontario to lay out ‘legal parameters’ of stay-at-home order amid coronavirus pandemic

“Let me be clear, this is an emergency,” Loh said. “The new provincial stay-at-home measures are welcome and necessary.”

Loh said hospitals in the region have begun to cancel surgeries and have already had to transfer patients to other parts of Ontario due to “dwindling” ICU (intensive care unit) capacity.

While both were in favour of the new restrictions, Loh said he would like to see a review of what is deemed an essential workplace and for the Ford government to see what else can be temporarily closed.

Brown also urged both the provincial and federal government to incorporate paid sick days, especially for essential workers, which was something left out of the new restrictions that come into effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m.

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