Ontario's top doctor "can't guarantee" restrictions will lift on January 26

Jan 13 2022, 9:10 pm

Ontario’s top doctor told reporters on Thursday that he couldn’t yet make any promises about reopening plans originally set for January 26.

Ontario went into a sort-of lockdown on January 5. The restrictions saw indoor dining, gyms, schools and other public indoor settings close. The restrictions were set to remain in place for 21 days.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said that the province has not yet seen the impact of the restrictions, so he wasn’t able to commit to a reopening date. It takes about two weeks for restrictions to reflect in the COVID-19 case counts, and another week or two to reflect in hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

“Our public health measures have just been put in on the 5th. We should start to see the benefit of the sacrifices that Ontarians have made next week,” he said.

With the impacts of the restrictions not yet clear, Dr. Moore said that there’s no guarantee that businesses will be able to reopen on the 26th.

“I can’t guarantee the 26th. Please stay tuned,” he said. “We’ll be watching the same data as those experts at the Science Table and we collaborate with them to be able to inform public health measures.”

Even if the impact of the restrictions are what the province expected to see, Dr. Moore said that not everything will reopen at once. When shuttered businesses get the green light to open to the public, it will be in a “staged and phased manner.”

He added that a two-week period is usually needed to determine how reopening is impacting COVID-19 infection rates in the province.

“We would make recommendations of how we’ve worked in the past,” said Dr. Moore. “Phased, staged two-week time periods typically of reopening to ensure that we don’t have a rebound in cases and sudden impact again on the healthcare system.”

Dr. Moore’s next COVID-19 briefing is next Thursday. It is not yet clear when an announcement will be made about reopening plans.

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

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