They say it often has to get worse before it can get better, and so it seems. The provincial chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, has warned that the daily increase in cases of COVID-19 in Ontario could spike sharply as people return from March break trips. Dr. Williams reportedly suggested we should soon expect to see the numbers rising by 50 or 60 cases per day.
Earlier on Thursday, March 19, Ontario had confirmed 43 new cases of the virus in the province. Halton Region Public Health announced a second provincial resident had died in relation to the illness.
Dr. Williams later delivered his newest update on the spread of the virus in Ontario on Thursday afternoon, March 19.
In that press conference, he acknowledged that the jump of 43 cases is actually smaller than Ontario had been anticipating as people begin to return from March Break trips.
"That still seems to me surprisingly low with the flow we've got coming, but I will be not surprised if that goes up," he told reporters, per CTV News. "I don't want it to go up huge. So we'll have to watch."
Dr. Williams did warn, though, that with increasing numbers of revellers coming back to Canada, he wouldn't be surprised if the daily rise in confirmed cases soon hits 50 or 60, per Newstalk1010's Lucas Meyer.
Visit our #COVID19ON self-assessment webpage if you think you have symptoms or have been in close contact with some… https://t.co/PYwXY8Z26q— Ontario Ministry of Health (@Ontario Ministry of Health)1584622656.0
In that update, he admitted that the province is in "a critical time" right now, according to CBC's Lauren Pelley.
That warning about the effect of March Break travel comes exactly seven days after Ontario Premier Doug Ford urged families to "go away and have a good time" for the traditional vacation period.
Speaking at the same press conference, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, gave more information on how COVID-19 is spreading in the province.
Some 80% of people who have been confirmed to have contracted the disease have travelled outside of Canada, said Dr. Yaffe, per CBC.*
Of those, over half have returned from either the U.S. or had travelled to Europe.
According to Dr. Yaffe, the most common U.S. states that have been visited by infected Ontarians are New York, Colorado, California, Nevada and Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, another 15% of Ontario cases have stemmed from close contact with an infected individual.
*This article has been updated.