Ontario's top doctor encouraged by falling daily COVID-19 cases

May 3 2021, 12:44 pm

Ontario health officials say a plateau in COVID-19 cases amid tough restrictions puts the province in an encouraging position.

“It’s still precarious, but in some areas we’re moving in the right direction on a number of fronts,” Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said at a press conference from Queen’s Park Monday afternoon.

Ontario has reported under 4,000 COVID-19 cases for nine days straight, down from a high in mid-April, when the seven-day rolling average surpassed 4,300.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU has also declined for the past two days, after rising steadily for most of the last month. As of Monday there were 1,925 people in Ontario’s hospitals with COVID-19, including 889 in ICU.

Ontario has now given at least a first vaccine dose to 40% of adults, and hopes to vaccinate even more people in the coming weeks. Canada is receiving more shipments of vaccine this month than in previous months, and the province is ready to ramp up immunizations efforts at mass clinics and hotspot pop-ups.

Williams encouraged all Ontarians to get a shot as soon as they’re able, saying the risks from catching COVID-19 are too severe to delay.

“We’ve got to get these numbers down,” he said.

It takes at least two weeks to build up immunity following vaccination, and Williams asked that people continue following public health measures to protect themselves.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, added that the National Advisory Council on Immunization should be coming forward soon with recommendations about mixing vaccine doses.

She expects the body will say it’s safe to mix and match vaccine types if two doses of the same one can’t be procured. The question is on many people’s minds who received the AstraZeneca shot, since it’s not known when Canada will receive its next batch of that vaccine.

It takes at least two weeks to build up immunity following vaccination, and Williams asked that people continue following public health measures to protect themselves.

He also hinted new guidance on outdoor activities could be coming as COVID-19 indicators in the province improve. Gatherings with people outside one’s household, whether indoor or outdoor, are currently forbidden. Outdoor recreation amenities such as basketball courts and soccer fields are also closed across the province.

Ontario is currently under a Stay-at-Home order that’s set to expire on May 19. Restaurants are closed except for takeout and delivery, and only essential stores such as grocery retailers are allowed to be open.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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