The effect of the Ontario stay-at-home order on Covid-19 third wave infections including vaccination considerations: An interrupted time series analysis Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The Covid-19 global pandemic that began in March 2020 was not fully mitigated through governmental Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) and continued to infect people and take lives through 2021. Since many countries were affected by the second, third, and fourth waves of Covid-19, governments extended and strengthened NPIs, but these actions led to citizen protests and fatigue. In this study, we investigate the effect of a lockdown policy on Covid-19 third wave implemented by the province of Ontario, Canada, on April 3rd 2021, followed by a stay-at-home order on April 7th 2021 while free Covid-19 testing and vaccination were in progress. Herein, the effect of both NPIs and vaccination are considered simultaneously. We used the prevalence of Covid-19 cases, tests, and administered vaccines data reported publicly by the Government of Ontario on their website. Because mobility changes can reflect the behaviors and adherence of residents with a stay-at-home order, Covid-19 community mobility data for Ontario provided by Google was also considered. A statistical method called interrupted time series was used to analyze the data. The results indicated that, although vaccinations helped to control the Covid-19 infection rate during this time, the stay-at-home order caused a rate reduction by decreasing the trend of the Covid-19 prevalence by 13 (±0.8962) persons per million daily and the level by 33 (±7.6854) persons per million. Furthermore, the stay-at-home order resulted in approximately a 37% reduction in Covid-19 prevalence one week after the intervention’s effective date. Therefore, Ontario’s strict lockdown policy, including several NPIs, mitigated the Covid-19 surge during the third wave. The results show that even when vaccination is in progress, strict NPIs such as lockdown is required to control Covid-19 waves, and early re-openings should be avoided. These results may also be useful for other countries that have implemented delayed vaccination schedules.

publication date

  • January 2022