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Further pandemic shut downs in Ontario 'inevitable': biostatistician

Despite roll backs seen in COVID-19 hot spots, the virus' reproductive number hasn't been under one since the August long weekend
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It could be a sign of things to come this fall.

Ontario reported over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 for the first time Sunday, a number that was no surprise to at least one biostatistician.

Ryan Imgrund, who works for the Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS we've been seeing a steady growth in cases since the August long weekend, minus a small dip that he attributed to the changing of testing criteria.

He does note there's been a dip in the positive test rate in Ontario.

We were in the 10 to 15 per cent range in March and April to around three per cent nowadays.

In Waterloo Region, the positive test rate was 1.2% as of Friday, with updated testing figures set to be released Tuesday.

Another figure Imgrund pointed to as important is the reproductive number, or the number of secondary infections for every individual primary infection.

"In July, we did have that number at around 0.7 (to) 0.8," he said, "And then the August long weekend hit, and ever since...we have really not seen an R-value reliably under one."

Imgrund said we'll see case numbers drop when the R-value is under 1.0 consistently, but we haven't seen anything yet that is bringing that number down.

That includes the modified Stage 2 of pandemic recovery, that he said has only made an impact in Ottawa.

"Inevitably, we're going to start to see more shut downs, like outside some of these hot spots," Imgrund said, predicting that about half of the province will likely go into that modified Stage 2 in the next few weeks.

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