Waterloo Region’s top doctor is warning that the area may move into lockdown under Ontario’s COVID-19 colour-coded system on Friday.
Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s medical officer of health, spoke to regional council on Tuesday night and suggested that the region could be shifted this week.
“I expect to speak with the chief medical officer of health before Friday, and I will be discussing with him the best path forward for our region,” she said.
“Due to the serious impacts that are now being felt in our health-care system and the need to not delay, if we need to act, we need to be prepared for the possibility of lockdown.”
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She said current measures have had an effect on the number of new cases in the area but it has only slowed the growth.
“As we’ve seen, high rates of transmission not only affect the individual health of residents and their families but it can destabilize the health-care system and it can lead to the need for a broad-based lockdown,” Wang said.
“This type of strain that we’re now experiencing on our health-care system is not sustainable over a long period of time.”
She says that hospitals are struggling to keep up with a growing list of patients who are in need of their care.
“I think oftentimes, the work that’s done by our health-care partners can go largely unseen in the sense that they are working extremely hard around the clock in these very difficult times,” she said.
Wang discussed hospitals’ struggles in dealing with the growing surge in cases.
“You can open more hospital beds but you only have a limited number of doctors, nurses and other professionals that can do certain procedures or interventions for patients,” she told council.
If the region is moved to lockdown, it is expected to begin the following Monday and last for four weeks.
“That’s because four weeks represents two incubation periods for this virus and would be sort of the minimum amount of time you’d have to give measures to be able to see some improvement, if the measures are working,” Wang said.
Waterloo Region has been under red-control status for three weeks after quickly jumping from green to yellow to orange to red in just a couple of weeks.
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