It may not be long before York Region joins Toronto and Peel in the provincial ‘grey zone.’
The latest numbers suggest that the region may actually be in worse shape than one of its GTA peers were when they entered the provincial lockdown less than two weeks ago.
The Toronto Star is reporting that the regions infection rate of 111 per 100,000 is actually higher than the City of Toronto’s was when it went into lockdown on Nov. 23.
York Region previously avoided the grey zone by asking the province for more time to allow current public health measures to make an impact. The regions ‘red zone’ restrictions don’t seem to be putting a dent in the spread.
York Region Public Health is admitting that rising numbers are concerning. York Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Karim Kurji, says health officials are trying to figure out what is responsible for a recent jump in cases.
“Our cases in York Region had been plateauing until the weekend, when we saw quite a jump in the numbers of cases,” says Kurji.
Toronto bases non-profit ICES (The Institute for Clinical Evaluate Sciences (ICES) say its statistics show that the area in Vaughan that borders Brampton has a test positivity rate of 20.4 percent. That is the second highest test positivity rate in the province.
Health officials are growing concerned that the spike in infections will begin to strain hospitals, something that is already happening at facilities in Toronto and Peel.
“We have to safeguard the vulnerable populations in our community,” says Kurji. “We also have to look after the healthcare workers and out hospital capacities and ensure those don’t get overwhelmed.”
Still, Kurji says that he believes York Region is better suited to remain in the province’s ‘Red-Control’ zone rather than being placed under lockdown.
Kurji says a Markham company named ‘Scarsin‘ is doing data and modelling for York Public Health. They suggest the effect of a lockdown compared to current conditions will be minimal.
‘Scarsin‘ mobility data shows a 20 per cent reduction since York entered the ‘Red-Control’ zone.
Hospitals in the region currently have 66 COVID-19 patients.
York Region reported 187 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 203 cases on Wednesday. The region reported a record 251 cases on Nov. 29.