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This is what Ontario's hospitals would look like if everyone was vaccinated


The head of Ontario’s science table has revealed what the province’s health-care system would look like if everyone had at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The health-care system would not be overwhelmed or at the brink of being overwhelmed if we had a fully vaccinated population,” Dr. Peter Juni told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.

While the onslaught of Omicron cases has Ontario’s hospitals seriously stretched, Juni shared hypothetical scenarios, based on the table’s data, and described how the province’s health-care system is coping.

The numbers come from the province’s hospitalization data according to vaccination status as of Thursday, Jan. 6.

On that day, the province listed 319 people in the ICU with the virus, including 123 unvaccinated patients, 28 partially vaccinated and 87 fully vaccinated. The vaccination status of the remaining 81 patients is unknown.

Juni said if everyone was vaccinated, that number would shift below 150.

“If you have at least two doses, better three, it protects really well against COVID-19 hospital and ICU admissions. That’s the great news,” he said.

But he argued that if all Ontarians were unvaccinated, instead of 319 COVID-19 patients in the ICU, there would be closer to 2,000 -- a situation he described as unimaginable.

“Our system would have decompensated and fallen apart weeks ago. This is just other worldly,” said Juni.

“This only shows you how far we have come with this pandemic.”

When it comes to the number of people in hospital with COVID, but not the ICU, Juni said if everyone in the province was vaccinated, there would be about 1,200 people in hospital, instead of Thursday’s total of 2,279.


Looking at staffing and beds in hospitals, Juni said an average of 1.5 nurses are needed per ICU patient.

If Ontario had only 150 people with COVID in the ICU based on Juni’s hypothesis of an entirely vaccinated population, he said Ontario would require about 280 fewer nurses per day, and some 180 ICU beds would be freed up.

An empty intensive care unit room is ready to be cleaned after a COVID-19 patient was transferred at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette


Juni said 1.5 million Ontarians remain unvaccinated, and with the current level of protection, he said it’s very difficult to tell what the peak in ICU admissions will be related to Omicron, as daily case counts are no longer reliable and testing is overwhelmed.

Juni said even if everyone had two doses, some public health restrictions would be still needed before that peak.

“Can we reduce the risk to zero through vaccination? No of course not,” Juni said. “But we can reduce it to a relative amount that protects the individual and the health-care system.” Top Stories

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