Niagara’s chief medical officer says more people are starting to avoid non-essential travel and are staying home.
While people had been going out more than they did in the first and second wave lockdowns, he said now the data “seems to be improving.”
“I think some of the additional messaging, some of what the province is continue to encourage is helping us get closer there,” Hirji told reporters Monday.
Mobility data shows more people are actually starting to stay home during the lockdown, he said.
“Obviously we would like to see something closer to what we were at the secondary even first lockdown, because the more sharply people reduce their being out and about, the more sharply we can hopefully bring cases back down and get to a position where we can start to reopen earlier,”
“The whole point of our stay-at-home orders is to keep people from being out and about and interacting with each other. That will reduce the spread of infection.”
He said modelling shows people need to reduce their interaction by about 40 per cent to really be effective, however behaviour is not on that trajectory yet.
People should trust the modelling, he added.
“I think the big thing we're seeing is both the Ontario and the national models seem to be extremely accurate predicting, at least over a few weeks, what we can expect and we should be really trusting them in terms of guiding some of our decision-making.”
Another bit of positive news, Hirji said, is that Ontario has reported declining numbers of new cases.
“I’m hoping this means that we've passed the peak and things are actually on the way down now in terms of cases in Ontario — and we are about three weeks out from the stay-at-home order, so it does sort of fit with the timeline of when we would expect to start to see that impact,” Hirji said, adding that there’s still the possibility it is just a “blip” in the reporting.
Hospitalizations, however, are a “lagging indicator” and haven’t really started to fall. Hirji suspects those numbers will continue to rise.
Ontario has about 800 ICU admissions — much higher than the 150 “danger zone” that overwhelms hospitals, he said.
Modelling predicts ICU admissions won’t start to go down until early May. “So hopefully we might see end of next week a peaking of the ICU admissions and hospitalizations,” he said.