Dr. Steve Flindall, an emergency room doctor for nearly 20 years, said everyday the COVID-19 pandemic continues to place unimaginable stress on the health-care system.

“Last night our ICU was full,” said Flindall, who currently works in the York Region. “I had a cardiac arrest patient that normally would go straight to the ICU in the emerg for many hours; because there wasn’t room, they had to make room for her.”

As some communities brace for added coronavirus restrictions, experts crunching the numbers predict more lockdowns will follow.

Ryan Imgrund is a biostatistician who tracks COVID-19 case numbers every day.

“It seems like Guelph, Durham, and also Hamilton that are next on the list for lockdown,” Imgrund said. “We are going to see a lot more movement I think next week. I have a feeling we are going to see another eight to 10 public health units move up [zone] colours.”

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The president of the University Health Network, Dr. Kevin Smith, took to twitter on Friday and said it was time to lockdown from Oshawa to Niagara, north to Barrie and west to London.

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“I believe we absolutely have to go further to stamp out this disease,” Smith said, adding this is necessary as we await a vaccine.

Critical Care Services Ontario reported that as of Friday at midnight, there were 251 COVID-19 patients in Ontario intensive care units and 152 people on ventilators.

By comparison, at the peak of the first wave, there were 283 COVID-19 ICU patients. Doctors say they are seeing on average 21 new COVID-19 ICU cases every day.

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Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, said when it comes to the ICU, the situation across the province is dire.

“In the next two weeks, I think that we are going to exceed 300 patients with COVID-19 in Ontario’s ICUs,” Warner said. “We are going to have to cancel elective surgeries and procedures. We are going to have to potentially limit access to things that are less elective and more necessary or even emergent.”

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Other experts said that even in communities where COVID-19 appears to be manageable, nothing is guaranteed for the future.

“It’s very, very easy for some of these areas that are doing well to get out of control really really quickly,” Imgrund said.

“We need to stay vigilant.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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