Don’t make dinner reservations just yet.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore warned Thursday that Ontario setting daily records in COVID-19 hospitals due to the closure of restaurants for indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters, as well as other restrictions ahead of their scheduled end date may also remain.
“I can’t guarantee the 26th,” Moore said earlier this month of the January date for lifting restrictions set by Premier Doug Ford. “We need to continue as a society to protect the health care system.”
Ontario’s top doctor also indicated that people with compromised immune systems, including those with chemotherapy and dialysis, would qualify for a fourth vaccination starting Friday, provided they were 84 days before their third dose.
While the Omicron wave could peak with the number of cases as early as next week, Moore told her weekly news conference that hospitalizations are needed before health officials can begin easing restrictions in the province.
Still, the measures will be lifted gradually, over two-week phases to measure their impact – meaning it will take time for some businesses to return to full capacity.
“Reopening suddenly, I’d be worried about another wave of Omicron,” Moore said. It’s not clear exactly when Omicron’s cases will stop, but when they do, it follows that a week or two later will be the climax of hospitalization and intensive care unit admission.
The scientific director of the science table advising Ford and Moore said Ontarian has low mobility, low COVID-19 test positivity rates and slow hospital admissions rates, and all of these are good signs.
Dr. Peter Juni said, “If we’re a little lucky, we might start seeing people in hospital next week.” To learn in class on Monday.
He added that the lack of widespread PCR testing to get accurate case counts makes it a “challenging time” to measure where the province stands, which is why health officials are concerned about the levels of COVID-19 in wastewater. Looking more closely at the signs, he said. More modeling may be ready from the science table by the end of next week.
Delays in reopening will further hurt struggling businesses, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses called for increased financial aid.
“This is very worrying,” President Dan Kelly said on Twitter.
Ontario on Thursday set its seventh straight record tally of COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 3,630 patients, an increase of 182 from the previous day. There were 500 coronavirus patients in intensive care, a number that could double by the end of next week as the science table forecasts.
Moore urges Ontarians eligible to get their booster shots, especially those over 50, to help keep a lid on infection levels.
“That will derail us if we don’t have a booster dose,” he said.
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