Canada's Ontario says COVID-19 surge may be slowing, could still return to rapid growth

·1-min read
The Fish Market Restaurant in the ByWard Market is seen closed as a result of measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ottawa
The Fish Market Restaurant in the ByWard Market is seen closed as a result of measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ottawa

TORONTO (Reuters) - Experts advising the Canadian province of Ontario said on Thursday their modeling shows new COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions slowing, after a recent spike in new infections forced the government to impose fresh curbs to control the spread.

Projections from the province's advisory "science table" showed cases per day could flatten off between 800 and 1,200, said Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the school of public health at the University of Toronto and co-chair of the table.

"We're starting to see a more gentle curve," Brown said at a media briefing. "A thing that is important to emphasize though, is that this disease, because it can spread so quickly with these super-spreader events, can dramatically turn, and you can have rapid, rapid growth."

The province's public health system will need more capacity to control spread, said Brown. In recent weeks some public health units, notably Toronto, have had to scale back contact tracing because of a surge in cases.

Brown noted that deaths are rising, and there has been sharp growth in cases in long-term care homes in recent weeks.

"This is one of the places where we have the greatest vulnerability to infection, and the greatest consequences of infection," he said.

Canada has recorded 225,586 cases and over 10,000 deaths, according to latest federal government data, with Ontario accounting for nearly a third of all cases.

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)