Ontario’s doctors are calling for every region in the province to go back one stage in the government’s colour-coded pandemic framework to stop the worrying increase in COVID-19.
The Ontario Medical Association expressed concern about the spread of COVID and the increase in hospitalizations, especially to intensive care units. Yet at the same time, more people are travelling, including to and from hotspots, and gathering as restrictions loosen.
The OMA recommends that regions not be allowed to return to less restrictive parts of the framework until there are fewer than 1,000 new cases per day. The OMA expects the number of COVID cases and ICU admissions will rise for another two weeks and then level out for two weeks after that before dropping again.
“I know how hard it is to even think this, but we all need to take one step back,” said OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill. “We have flattened the curve before and we will do it again. For now, every region in the province should go back one stage. We can reassess frequently. Today, Let’s keep our eye on the long game. Vaccines are here. Summer is coming. I believe in Ontarians.”
Regions that are still in the grey lockdown zone should remain there but with full restrictions, while waiting for their case counts to drop, the OMA recommends.
The troubling new facts include:
- More than 2,000 new COVID cases reported Monday for the fifth day in a row. The number of patients in ICU is only 18 fewer than the record high during the entire pandemic.
- More than 50 per cent of all new COVID cases are the variants.
- More younger people are being infected and hospitalized.
Ontario’s doctors say the two things every Ontarian can do to end the pandemic is get the first COVID vaccine offered to them and continue to follow public health guidelines. In particular, doctors urge people to celebrate Passover and Easter with members of their own household and not travel outside their region.
Canada is expected to receive more than 3 million doses of vaccines this week and Ontario’s family doctors are ready to work with their public health colleagues to get as many of them into arms as soon as possible.
“Ontario’s doctors are troubled by the steadily increasing spread of COVID and its variants,” says OMA CEO Allan O’Dette. “Action needs to be taken now to get the Third Wave under control and save lives. We are asking all Ontarians to exercise an abundance of care and caution to stop the thread.”