The fight against COVID-19 must continue

April 23, 2020
 
Earlier this week, the Ontario government released the latest COVID-19 modelling, which shows that the enhanced public health measures, including staying home and physically distancing, are working to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve in the community. That said, outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a major concern and concerted actions are underway to protect vulnerable people in these settings. And there is the risk of community outbreaks and a second wave of the disease.
 
Anthony Dale, President and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association released an important message to staying the course that I am sharing with you below. Together, we are making progress. Stay strong and stay safe. Robert
 
The fight against COVID-19 must continue
As the province reaches its peak of new cases of COVID-19, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is reminding everyone to stay home, if possible, and continue physical distancing. Ontarians have answered the call of hospitals and public health officials in recent weeks and it’s making a powerful difference in curtailing the spread of the disease and in preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed. Thousands of Ontario businesses have closed their doors in order to protect the people of this province. These actions have come at a significant cost, and on behalf of Ontario hospitals, we’d like to thank every worker and business owner for their truly extraordinary sacrifices.
 
Unfortunately, our collective fight against COVID-19 must continue. Evidence suggests that we risk an upsurge in new cases if physical distancing measures are lifted too quickly. Last week, the World Health Organization warned that public health measures must be lifted slowly and with control. Japan, for example, is now returning to more restrictive physical distancing after a period of eased measures that led to an increase in the number of new cases. Additionally, South Korea recently reported almost 100 patients thought to have recovered from COVID-19 have tested positive again, raising questions about immunity and the possibility of reinfection.
 
As Ontario nears its peak among the general population, mortality rates are climbing rapidly in long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate settings. Residents of these communities are older, frailer and have more complex conditions, and the virus is transmitted quickly among residents and staff, leading to rampant spread and tragic loss of life. Ontario’s health system is stepping up and providing reinforcements, but our province needs every person to maintain their patience and resolve and continue with the prevention efforts that have gotten us this far.
 
If you require urgent medical care, Ontarians should not hesitate to dial 911 or visit an emergency department. In the meantime, if we all stay the course, each of us can contribute to saving lives and a swift return to economic growth and job creation once again. Ultimately, our success or failure in coping with COVID-19 will be determined by the decisions we make as members of society in supporting and caring for those among us who need help the most.