The Ontario Doug Ford government is now in its second day of deliberations over what to do with surging COVID-19 infections while are overrunning Ontario hospitals. New public health restrictions are expected to be announced sometime today.
Ontario's science advisory co-chair Dr. Adalsteinn Brown is also expected to provide an updated pandemic modelling briefing today. In February, as the Conservative government prepared to reopen indoor dining, Dr. Brown's team released modelling predicting that within two months between 5,000 and 6,000 people would become infected per day under the Conservative's reopening.
On Thursday, Ontario public health units reported over 4,700 cases, the highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic. New restrictions were added 10 days ago that brought the restrictions already found in the most affected parts of the province to all of Ontario. Currently, Ontario only runs behind Alberta in the number of active cases.
Modeling to be released today is expected to project 12,000 to 18,000 people will become infected with COVID-19 within two months unless further actions are taken and despite vaccine roll-out.
Brown's science team also yesterday denied it had chosen the "hot spot" postal codes the Ford government has announced will receive vaccine priority. Previously, Premier Ford had said in the Ontario legislature the target postal codes were "identified based on analysis conducted by the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table," the team headed by Dr. Brown.
Robert Steiner, communications director for Brown's team, told the Ottawa Citizen "we understand the government itself decided which neighbourhoods to actually prioritize."
The Conservative's plan has become controversial because five neighbourhoods included for vaccine priority have lower than average rates of infection and hospitalization while seven of the most hard-hit neighbourhoods with the highest infection and hospitalization rates were excluded.
An analysis by CBC News showed four of the five included postal codes are in Conservative-held ridings while all of the seven excluded postal codes are in riding represented by NDP or Liberal MPPs.
Asked about the rationale for his vaccine priorities this week, Premier Ford accused NDP leader Andrea Horwath of "playing politics" with the vaccine rollout.