Our resident Canada Research Chair in Economics of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Beate Sander, has certainly been actively engaged in research throughout this pandemic, coordinating resource modeling in Ontario through the efforts of the COVID-19 Mod Collab group whose work will be used to inform public health policy in the province in tandem with Public Health Ontario and Ontario Health.
Using the CORE (COVID-19 Resource Estimator) Model 1.3, the team has modeled the burden on Ontario by forecasting the demand for ICU beds, ward beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) bundles.
Method: The team’s model factored in a number of parameters including the number of COVID positive patients requiring hospitalization, taking into account whether or not the patient would need a ward or ICU bed, the number of ICU patients requiring a ventilator, the lengths of stay for a patent admitted to a ward or the ICU or both, and the probability of death (PoD) for patients who have to wait for an ICU bed or ventilator, as well as PoD for patients admitted to the ICU or ones with access to a ventilator. The team then modeled best, expected and worst case scenarios based on local data and those from other jurisdictions to help pinpoint when resource capacity may be reached.
(*please note, actual figures will not be provided here, please see the Collab’s website for further details, link at the end*)
The general tone of the expert advice offered by the group certainly emphasized the need to continue physical distancing as well as vastly increasing capacity for testing and contact tracing.
Emerging Research: The focus will be on group settings such as Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities, group homes and shelters. These facilities are currently facing exacerbated issues in dealing with COVID-19 partially due to less stringent protocols in LTCs vs. acute care hospitals, staffing shortages, and an even higher than normal requirement for PPE. LTC facilities are reportedly the new ’hotbed’ for COVID-19 cases. Our cardiac resources group is currently investigating the impact of the delays in patients undergoing cardiac procedures that were previously postponed due to COVID concerns.
Moving into the next phase of life, given the persistence of the virus over the next 6 months, patients with other serious ailments will have to be addressed once again.
What do future hospital protocols look like when physical distancing is finally relaxed?
How do we allocate resources based on the type of surgery (some that can be easily delayed and some that cannot), while considering another influx of COVID cases later this year and ensuring hospitals have surge capacity so they’re not placed in a difficult, resource strapped position again?
These are all questions to be reported on in the coming weeks and months.
Check out the Collab's updates through their website: https://www.covid-19-mc.ca/.