COVID-19 in Ontario – a look at some numbers.

I know this isn’t local news but COVID affects us all. If you pay attention to the (I hate to say mainstream) conventional media, it appears that a crisis is imminent with regard to hospital beds in Ontario and in particular, intensive care beds. Unlike conventional media, we at Weston Web are not government funded.

There has been a startling increase in infection recently compared to previous waves ofCOVID.

Source: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data/hospitalizations

Looking at the data from Ontario’s own excellent website the black line shows the number of hospitalizations since April 2020 while the shaded area shows the daily numbers of active cases. The number of people in hospital has not risen in proportion compared to previous waves.

Despite the huge numbers of infections the latest wave, adult ICU beds don’t appear to be at a crisis point at the moment. In fact, despite rising numbers ofCOVID patients in ICU, availability has increased by 43 beds since January 6th.

Click to enlarge. Source: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data/hospitalizations

While the number ofCOVID patients in ICU is rising, so is bed availability. Over the past 30 days, available ICU beds have been as high as 802 on December 26 to a low of 540 on January 6. Indeed, if we look back a few months, we can see that there is flexibility in the system.

Click to enlarge. ICU availability since May 1 2020. Source https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data/hospitalizations

Hospitals have been able to re-assign beds to ICUs in order to meet demand. Between May and July last year there were 2554 ICU beds. The number currently stands at 2343.

The next chart is from the Ontario Science Table – an advisory group to the Government of Ontario. While being fully vaccinated doesn’t fully protect you from gettingCOVID, it vastly lowers your chances of getting severe symptoms. Look at these numbers of hospitalized and ICU patients by vaccine status.

Source: https://covid19-sciencetable.ca/ontario-dashboard/

Considering that almost 90% of Ontario adults have been double vaccinated, the rate of severe disease in the unvaccinated is startling.

Interestingly, while being doubly vaccinated lowers the chances of serious infection, recently, it is less protective against COVID as is shown in this next chart.

Source: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data

As of December 23, it appears that fully vaccinated people are more at risk of getting COVID. One can speculate on the reason for this but it’s quite surprising.

Lastly, if there was any doubt remaining; according to the Ontario Science Table, in the last month, Omicron has taken over from Delta as the dominant strain in Ontario.

Source: https://covid19-sciencetable.ca/ontario-dashboard/

A complicated story

I’m going to ask you to do something a bit hard: to recognize that in an argument, both parties can be wrong.

This week, some community members started organizing against the supportive housing LOFT announced on Church Street. They put flyers on street posts and in mailboxes (including my own).

The flyers said that “crime, drugs, theft, property damage, low income, [and] prostitution” are problems in the community—and that “the former Humber River Regional hospital is turning 5 houses on Church St. into rooming/halfway houses for profit”.

As far as I can tell, little of that is accurate. They’re not going to be “rooming” (for profit) or “halfway houses” (for former criminals). They are “supportive housing for outgoing patients facing mental health challenges”, according to Debora Jesus, from LOFT.

Nor are they likely for profit. They are owned by the hospital, and LOFT is a charity, not a business. I’m not a lawyer, but this seems impossible. (And I’ll leave it to you to decide whether Weston has a large problem with petty crime. I don’t think so.)

But LOFT and the HRH don’t come out of this blameless.

I don’t think they did enough consultation, or sought opinions from far enough around the community.

I’m far from a good barometer, but I do try to keep attuned to what’s going on in Weston. I didn’t hear about LOFT’s “information session” (notably, not a consultation) until after it had passed.

I wasn’t the only one. Several members of the Weston Village Neighbours group didn’t know about it, and MPP Faisal Hassan wrote a letter to the CEO of LOFT saying he would have hoped to have been included. He wasn’t.

He also wrote “I … urge you to have broad community consultations and to involve local residents and elected officials such as myself.”

LOFT, for their part, says that they met with the WVRA and Frances Nunziata, and circulated flyers in a 3-block radius.

They also say, however, that “there are no further in-person meetings planned”.

This sort of stuff isn’t rocket science. I’m in favour of supportive housing, but LOFT should have known—or been told—that Weston gets quite enough “information” and not enough consultation from developers, Metrolinx, and, yes, the Humber River Regional Hospital. (Which announced years ago that they would be selling the property until, whoops, community members told them that they legally couldn’t.)

All Westonians will be eligible for a vaccine

It looks like all Westonians and Mount Denizens will be prioritized for vaccination. The details and timeline are not yet clear, but the province has said that mobile vaccination teams and pop-up clinics will come to “highly impacted neighbourhoods” and will give vaccinations “to individuals aged 18 and over.”

The mobile vaccination teams will visit “congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers”. It appears that the clinics will serve the rest of the community at faith-based locations and community centres.

Image via TVO

Those 50+ will also be able to get vaccinated at the city’s clinics starting on Friday; until now they’d only been vaccinated locally.

Image via TVO



Time to get mad

If you’re not yet mad at the slow pace of vaccinations, an article in The Star today will get you going. And if you are already mad, you’ll be furious—as I am.

Most of the seniors at Central King Seniors Residence across from the Weston Library hadn’t received their vaccinations, even though they’ve been eligible for weeks. Why?

Most of them don’t use the internet and aren’t able to book an appointment on their own. Many have significant mobility issues and none of the vaccination sites are nearby. Some can’t afford transportation. Others worry about waiting in long lines.

“They have been left behind,” Oka says. “Not intentionally,” she adds. “But still.”

….

She knew the most effective way to get her residents vaccinated was if the vaccine came to them. So she sent requests to every level of government, making her case in detailed emails.

Eventually she heard back from her MPP, Faisal Hassan, who, in collaboration with Humber River Hospital, arranged for a pop-up clinic at the building last week.

God bless Bardha Oka. Give her an award, the key to the town. Name a street after her. She probably saved many lives.

But see, too, that this is no way to run a vaccination plan. Why should one person be responsible? And why should she have to fight to get it done? This is insane. And how many more seniors’ residences are out there with less empowered staff than Bardha Oka?

Upcoming events

On Tuesday, January 19, from 6-7 pm there will be a virtual meeting to discuss community benefits arising from a new hospital being built at West Park. The meeting is being hosted by the Mount Dennis Community Association, West Park Healthcare Centre, and the Toronto Community Benefits Network.

The organizers say the community benefits will include

Apprenticeships & Career opportunities 

Social Procurement opportunities 

Neighbourhood and Environment Improvements