To avoid a fourth wave of COVID-19 driven by the Delta variant, Ontario must ensure first and second vaccine doses are getting to high-risk communities, according to new modelling.
Health officials say the cases, per cent positivity and hospitalizations have all dropped sharply and cases are expected to continue to decline over the next 10 days.
The Delta variant, which is more transmissible and could be more dangerous, will likely be the dominant strain of the virus this summer.
Second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will help control surges of the Delta variant in high-risk areas and minimize spillover to other areas.
The new modelling shows if virus spread is low and we are vaccinating people at the rate of 142,000 per day, we will see under 500 cases a day until mid-August, with cases continuing to drop.
However, if virus spread is high with the same vaccination rate, cases could spike back up to 2,500 per day. With 180,000 vaccines per day, that number would be at around 1,500.
The data also shows testing numbers have dropped. Health officials say strong monitoring will be critical in controlling the pandemic going forward.
As for hospitals, normal operations could resume by mid-July with the modelling predicting fewer than 200 patients in the ICU by then. The province currently has 450 patients in the ICU.
The new modelling comes as Ontario prepares to enter Step 1 of reopening which includes outdoor dining, non-essential retail stores opening and outdoor gatherings up to 10 people.