Wellington North council updated on pandemic modelling

WELLINGTON NORTH – Mayor Andy Lennox updated council here on localized pandemic modelling information provided by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH).

At the May 4 meeting Lennox advised council the model presented at the April 30 Wellington County council meeting compares three local scenarios based on physical distancing implemented for different lengths of time: three months (Scenario A), 12 months (Scenario B), and applied in a “dynamic” manner, implemented or relaxed based on provincial ICU capacity (Scenario C).

The modelling indicates Scenario C, in which physical distancing measures fluctuate based on health system capacity, results in both the fewest cases and fewest deaths of the three scenarios considered.

The scenario also produced the narrowest range of potential results.

Under Scenario A, with physical distancing ending after three months, the overall percentage of population infected after two years is projected at 54% (with a range of 29 to 68%) and the total number of deaths in the WDGPH region projected at 2,814 (range of 1,404 to 3,892).

Under Scenario B, with physical distancing measures maintained for 12 months, the overall percentage of population infected after two years was projected at 18% (range: 0 to 74%) and the number of deaths at 171 (range: 1 to 4,261).

Under Scenario C, with physical distancing measures implemented in a dynamic manner based on ICU capacity, the overall percentage of population infected after two years was projected at just 3% (range: 2 to 4%) and total deaths at 106 (range: 84 to 150).

“Certainly Scenario A is very unpalatable in terms of numbers of deaths, because while those deaths are just a number in this presentation we have to remember that each one of those deaths are people that have brothers and sisters and daughters and sons and families,” said Lennox.

“So I think we need to keep that in mind. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight. We hear the numbers, but all of those numbers are attached to individuals with loved ones.”

The mayor added, “I think it’s important for us as we go into our decision making going forward that we think of ways that we can, over the next couple of years … help reduce or minimize the spread of this virus because we want as many of our citizens to remain alive and healthy as we possibility can.”.

Councillor Steve McCabe said, “It’s pretty sobering to hear that it’s going to be like this maybe for two years.”

He added he recognizes “you always have to plan for the worst,” but “hopefully it’s the best-case scenario” that plays out.

Councillor Dan Yake said he felt Scenario C, which would involve stopping and starting social distancing measures, would be difficult to implement.

“Once people are used to getting back to maybe some sense of normalcy it maybe be a little bit difficult,” said Yake.

Lennox noted public health officials at the April 30 meeting, didn’t see Scenario C being “a policy they would purse for pretty much the same reasons you’re putting forward.”