Ontario Hospital Association calling on harder-hit regions, like Simcoe-Muskoka, to face four-week total lockdown

Any region seeing more than 40 cases per 100,000 people would be affected, Simcoe Muskoka reporting 44

The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is calling for some tough new measures to hew the growth of COVID-19 across the province.

With new infections now above 2,000 cases per day across the province, the OHA is urging on Queen’s Park to begin enforcing a four-week lockdown on any region with an infection rate above 40 per 100 thousand people, calling it necessary to ensure hospitals do not face a devastating surge. “As they keep up with current needs, hospitals are also working diligently to catch up on approximately 150,000 scheduled surgeries cancelled in the first wave of the pandemic,” reads a statement from the OHA. “Evidence is mounting that the hidden toll on human health from this disruption in scheduled services will be heavy.”

The OHA’s bar of 40 cases per 100,000 people would also apply to Simcoe-Muskoka. The local health unit was reporting 44 cases per 100,000 residents as of Thursday morning. Were the province to take the OHA’s advice to heart, this region would be committed to the same four-week lockdown. “This is in keeping with the criteria laid out in the government’s COVID-19 Response Framework, and is necessary to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario and to ensure that hospitals do not face a devastating surge in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization and intensive care in January,” continued the OHA statement.

“The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines means the end of the pandemic is in sight – watching health care workers receive the vaccine this week offered an uplifting light at the end of the tunnel. However, the last stretch of a marathon is the hardest. We must deal with today’s crisis by bending the pandemic curve so that the vaccination program can proceed as quickly and effectively as possible,” concluded the statement.

Some 150,000 surgeries were cancelled amid the first wave of the pandemic, a backlog that is still being processed to this day.