Ontario hospital association declares province in third COVID-19 wave

Mar 15 2021, 12:31 pm

The Ontario Hospital Association declared that the province is in a third COVID-19 wave, but Toronto’s top doctor thinks it’s too early to say.

On Monday, the OHA said, “We’re now in wave 3,” based on new data from Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

With new variants of concern “steeply rising” and ICU numbers trending upwards with nearly 350 reached today, the OHA said there needs to be “strong adherence to public health measures,” which is “urgently needed to prevent overwhelming hospitals.”

During a press conference, when asked about the association’s declaration, Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said, “It’s still too early to say,” but she noted that COVID-19 numbers are not heading in the right direction.

“We have a great deal of control here. We know what makes a difference. We know that it comes down to those self-protection measures.”

De Villa said that since the first variants were detected in Toronto in February, 3,516 cases have screened positive for virus mutations.

“We should all be concerned by what we’re seeing in Toronto, and what we’re seeing around the world. I must be clear; the pandemic is not over,” she said. “COVID-19 variants are triggering third waves in Europe.”

Ontario Dashboard/Science Table

Toronto reported 387 new cases on Monday afternoon. There are over 200 people in the hospital and 49 in ICU.

When asked if the city would enter another lockdown or, conversely, be moved into the Red Zone, Mayor John Tory and de Villa would not provide a clear answer.

“I had a meeting with other mayors from across GTA and am in constant discussion with the Chief Medical Officer of Health on Toronto in respect to restrictions,” Tory said.

He added that in order to move a region into another colour, a number of factors must be addressed, including health numbers, businesses, and people’s psychological well-being.

On March 8, the Stay at Home orders were lifted in Toronto, Peel Region, and North Bay-Parry Sound at 12 am with all three regions in the Grey Zone of Ontario’s reopening framework.

In the Grey Zone, retail is permitted to reopen at 25% capacity, but indoor gatherings are not permitted.

The colour for the regions is evaluated every two weeks, with questions on whether Toronto will still be in the Grey Zone brought into question for March 22.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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