Dr. Peter Donnelly, President and CEO of Public Health Ontario, addresses a media briefing on COVID-19 provincial modelling in Toronto, Friday, April 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Dr. Peter Donnelly, President and CEO of Public Health Ontario, addresses a media briefing on COVID-19 provincial modelling in Toronto, Friday, April 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Projections show between 3,000 and 15,000 could die from COVID-19 in Ontario

Dr. Peter Donnelly, say data paint a stark picture of the gravity of the situation facing the province

The steps the Ontario government has taken so far to limit the spread of COVID-19 have likely saved tens of thousands of lives, public health officials said Friday, but even with further action the death toll could reach as high as 15,000.

Projections released by the province showed 100,000 Ontario residents could likely have died over the full course of the pandemic if the province hadn’t implemented measures such as widespread closures of businesses and schools in order to promote physical distancing.

As it is, the figures estimate thousands of people could still die without more aggressive measures in place.

Dr. Peter Donnelly, president of Public Health Ontario, said the data paint a stark picture of the gravity of the situation facing the province — and the need for ongoing action.

“If we do everything that we can think of — everything that already has been done stays in place, all of the other measures that are being considered put in place — then I think we could reduce the death toll in Ontario to somewhere between 3,000 and 15,000,” he said. “Where we end up depends on all of us.”

According to the projections, Ontario would have seen 300,000 cases of COVID-19 by the end of April had nothing been done. Current measures in place will likely bring that number down to 80,000, while further measures could lower it to 12,500.

Similarly, the number of deaths would have hit 6,000 by month’s end with no measures, Donnelly said. Staying the course is projected to reduce the death toll by April 30 to 1,600, and keep it as low as 200 with even tighter restrictions than are now in place.

Donnelly and other officials offered suggestions for such measures. Those included reducing the list of essential businesses that are currently allowed to operate, imposing entry restrictions on some communities including First Nations, providing more protection for seniors and tightening guidance on physical distancing.

Donnelly said the projections, which are far from set in stone, span the full course of the outbreak. He said that could last as long as 18 months to two years if second and third waves of the virus are considered.

The number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Ontario continued their upward trajectory on Friday, though those figures were eclipsed by the surge in cases that are now considered resolved.

The province reported 462 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 3,255. Deaths climbed by 14 for a total of 67 provincewide.

Those figures did not include four new deaths at a central Ontario nursing home, the scene of one of the largest outbreaks in the country.

Twenty of the roughly 65 residents of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., have died in recent weeks. At least 24 staff members at the facility have also tested positive for COVID-19.

The province has reported numerous outbreaks at long-term care facilities across Ontario.

But the number of resolved cases also surged significantly, climbing more than 30 per cent to 1,023 from 831 on Thursday.

Michelle McQuigge and Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Corey Harkness, who is free on bail, is slated to make his first appearance in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Dec. 14, 2020. A trial date has not yet been set. (COREY HARKNESS/FACEBOOK)
Accused in Cache Creek homicide will stand trial

Corey Harkness, 33, is charged with second-degree murder

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

The TNRD will no longer be offering free disposal days at its 29 solid waste facilities throughout the region. (Photo credit: TNRD)
TNRD votes to end free disposal days at solid waste facilities

Mattresses and tires on rims to be added to items that can be brought in at no charge year-round

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Most Read