COVID-19 coronavirus community spread north york hospital

Assume that every person you come into contact with has COVID-19

“We are about three weeks behind Italy.”

In an interview yesterday with CBC, Dr. Jennifer Tomlyn, an emergency room physician at Toronto’s North York General Hospital, laid out the simple truth that some Canadians are failing to grasp regarding the community spread of COVID-19 / Coronavirus. This comes on the same day that Public Health Agency of Canada statistics revealed that over half (53%) of COVID-19 cases now come from community spread. Travel-related infections now only account for 44% of cases in Canada.

“There’s community spread now, we know this for a fact,” Dr. Tomlyn said. “You have to assume that every single person you come into contact with is positive. We are not testing [everyone] — we can’t — so the numbers that are being reported every morning and every night [are] falsely reassuring to everybody. Those aren’t the [actual] number of cases that we have in our province or in our country. There are a ton more, we just don’t know it.”

Dr. Tomlyn went on to express the urgency of people taking social distancing and self-isolation more seriously.

“We are about three weeks behind Italy. Life is not going on there. In fact, thousands of people are dying. It is our duty — it is our job — to protect our population. It’s the calm before the storm, and the storm is coming. All the sick people that have COVID-19 are going to start to come in and they are going to tax our health care system tremendously, because the people that have heart attacks, and strokes, and appendicitis — all the other normal emergencies — are still going to come in too. We have to conserve resources. We can’t have everybody getting COVID-19 at the same time.”

This follows the same logic explained last week by Lloyd Phillips, minister of public safety for Kahnawake.

“It’s a matter of minimizing the impact,” Phillips said. “If there are a certain amount of people who will get the virus, you want to spread it out over the longest possible period of time so that if they require any type of medical assistance, the medical assistance is available to them.”

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