Ontario's science advisory table released new projections on Thursday on the eve of the province's partial reopening.
Top doctors cite the increased hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the past week, a recent outbreak where there were a higher number of cases in a shorter period of time, and a slower drop in case counts despite vaccination rates as evidence.
Brown described the worst-case scenario of 2,500 cases as "highly unlikely", but noted hospital ICUs still have more COVID-19 patients than they did at the peak of the second wave.
Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Table, said the modelling suggests that the province can look forward to a much better summer if proper precautions are followed. "With less opportunities for transmission, there is less chance the variant can spread".
"This is not a doomsday scenario ..."
"If we all do our part, we will be able to enjoy a safe two-dose summer". "To be clear, we're not out of the woods just yet".
The Delta variant, which is more transmissible and could be more risky, will likely be the dominant strain of the virus this summer.
But Brown said that he believes that it can be controlled by accelerating second doses in hot spot communities that are experiencing a rapid rise in Delta cases.
In order to contain the spread as much as possible, the province is being urged to focus vaccinations - particularly second doses, which are most effective against the Delta variant - on the highest-risk communities. The province now has 450 patients in the ICU.
Hospitals were treating 516 COVID-19 patients - 450 in intensive care including 24 transfers from Manitoba - and 291 were on ventilators.
The modellers also took a closer look at the access to care deficit and found that urgent surgeries have seen a 150 per cent increase compared to a year ago, suggesting some hospitals may already be beginning to cut into a surgical backlog that is believed to have surpassed 250,000 procedures.
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