In their latest modelling projections, Ontario officials said that new daily case numbers could get higher again if COVID-19 virus variants in Ontario begin to spread more and more.
Presenting the modelling on Thursday, officials said that the virus variants pose "a very big challenge" for containing the disease.
[rebelmouse-image 26007166 alt="COVID-19 Virus Variants In Ontario Could Bump Case Numbers Back Up, Ontario Officials Warn" photo_credit="Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Tables" expand=1 original_size="1902x1066"] Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Tables
Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, the co-chair of the provincial advisory committee responsible for the modelling, said that his team predicts case numbers in Ontario will continue declining by 1 to 3% daily
But Dr. Brown mentioned the new variant of concern that has been identified in Ontario — the U.K. variant, also known as B.1.1.7 — and he told reporters that it was spreading in the province.
If variants of concern continued to spread, he said, Ontario could see case numbers begin to rise again — demonstrated on the graph by the orange "VOC" line.
Dr. Brown said the U.K. variant is likely at least 30% more transmissible, and he cited a report that indicates it could be more lethal as well.
Speaking at the same presentation, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams said the province has developed a new test — likely the first of its kind in North America — that lets Ontario quickly determine if a positive COVID-19 case is due to a variant of concern.
Dr. Williams said Ontario hopes to soon check every single positive COVID-19 test in the province in order to find out how prevalent the variants of concern are.
He said that as of Thursday there are 51 cases of the U.K. variant in Ontario but that "there are more coming with more testing being done."