For the first time in more than a month, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units has surpassed 200.
While wastewater surveillance data suggests that community transmission may have peaked at roughly 100,000 new cases per day, hospitalizations are a lagging signal and may continue to climb in the short future.
According to the most recent data given by the Ministry of Health on Monday, there are currently at least 1,301 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, a 19% increase from this time last week.
That includes 202 people being treated in intensive care units, nearly half of whom are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator (91).
It is the highest number of people in the ICU with COVID-19 since March 16.
It should be noted that the hospitalization data is likely an undercount given that some hospitals typically don’t report occupancy numbers over the weekend.
Ontario’s Science Advisory Table has said that it expects hospitalizations will continue to rise through May. They say that under their most likely scenario the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 will peak at around 3,000, including approximately 500 in the ICU. In January, there were more than 4,000 people with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals. The number of people in the ICU with COVID peaked at 626 on Jan. 18.
“If you look at out wastewater surveillance it shows very early, early signs that (transmission) is either plateauing or going down in many parts of the province. That is obviously a very positive sign. But you want to see that trend continue before you get confident that we are working our way out of this wave,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CP24 on Monday. “I think we always have to be careful, you can’t have a tonne of confidence in the COVID era about how things are going. But at least there are some very early signs that things are starting to improve in Ontario.”
Hospitalizations have been on the upswing for weeks now but are not increasing at the same rate that the province saw during the height of the fifth wave this past winter.
Back in early January when there were 266 people in intensive care with COVID-19 Ontario suspended elective surgeries and procedures for about three weeks in an effort to preserve healthcare resources.
However, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has suggested that he believes hospitals will have the resources to handle an uptick in patient volumes during this wave.
“Hospitalizations have risen pretty significantly from a few weeks ago but they are nowhere near where they were at in January and February,” Bogoch told CP24 on Monday.