New novel coronavirus infections on the rise in Peel
Saturday’s high mark for the number of new infections in Peel was part of a recent trend that has seen case numbers across Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon move in the wrong direction for more than a week.
The 713 new positive tests reported by Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott on January 2, came after she reported 431 cases in Peel the day before, 441 on Thursday and 496 in Peel on Wednesday.
Peel's daily new infection graph shows a rise in cases over the past week, after they had dipped slightly right around Christmas.
It’s unclear if the recent rise in case numbers, compared to around Christmas when the Region of Peel reported 328 new infections on December 24 and 335 on the 25th, is linked to higher testing rates. According to the Province’s COVID-19 dashboard, Ontario’s testing rates jumped recently, but there is no data to show how many are being completed every day in Peel.
On December 29 and 30, an average of about 36,600 tests were done each day. The figure spiked to 63,858 on the 31st and 70,570 on January 1. Reported new infections in Ontario have also spiked recently, with 3,328 on December 31 and 3,363 on January 2. Both days saw the province reach new highs for the number of reported daily infections since the start of the pandemic, and represented the only two times there have been more than 3,000 new cases reported in a single day. It's possible the high numbers are linked to the increased number of tests performed.
The recent increase in cases across Peel coincides with the holiday season, but it’s unclear if gatherings around the period led to the rise in cases over the past week.
Another question is why the lockdown that came into effect on November 23 has not had any significant impact in Peel, yet.
There was an average of about 450 new infections in Peel a day, according to the Region’s dashboard, during the two weeks before and after the shutdown, but those numbers have been consistent since, even spiking above those levels since the middle of December.
It raises questions about why the lockdown is not having its intended effect.
According to the Region’s latest weekly epidemiological report, test positivity was still far above the target, again suggesting the lockdown is not yet impacting the spread of the novel coronavirus throughout parts of Peel.
For the week of December 13, the most recent data available show Peel’s test positivity rate sat at 9.3 percent, while the goal is 2.5 percent or below, which indicates that public health measures are controlling the spread of the virus in a particular area.
Between December 15 and 21 only 52 percent of positive tests in Peel were reported to local public health officials within 24 hours. The goal, to help prevent those individuals carrying the virus from spreading it to others, is 60 percent.
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