Physicians calling for Ontario to immediately place restrictions on non-essential businesses

Sep 24 2020, 7:17 am

A group of physicians are calling for tighter restrictions on non-essential businesses in Ontario to stop the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, the Ontario Hospital Association released a letter claiming that the sharp rise in cases over the last couple of weeks and the speed at which the virus spread, means public health measures must be implemented to “immediately limit opportunities for disease transmission.”

“As physicians and health care leaders specializing in infectious diseases, general internal medicine, medical microbiology and infection prevention and control (IPAC), we’re calling on the Government of Ontario to immediately place restrictions on non-essential businesses and activities that facilitate social gatherings and increase opportunities for exposure, including dine-in restaurants and bars, nightclubs, gyms, theatres, and places of worship,” the letter reads.

“The province must also ask non-essential businesses to have employees work from home and instruct universities and colleges to offer classes online, wherever possible.”

On Tuesday, Ontario reported 478 cases, with a seven-day average of approximately 400 cases per day– a figure last seen in May during the height of the pandemic.

“Without immediate action, we know from international experience that this extremely contagious and life-threatening virus will spread rapidly through our schools, long-term care homes, retirement homes and other congregate settings,” the letter adds.

The physicians note that while maintaining the economy is important, without action, the current rate of spread will return the closure of non-essential businesses and schools to prevent a rise in hospitalizations.

Currently, the Public Health Agency of Canada is warning that the country will reach 5,000 new daily cases by October—an increase from around 1,248 new cases reported yesterday.

“Other jurisdictions have underestimated the speed of which this virus can spread and are now facing the consequence of increased hospitalization rates, including a rise in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and more deaths,” the letter says.

“Now is not the time for hesitancy. We must regain a firm grip on the virus to ensure those who are most susceptible in our province stay protected.”

Some of the doctor’s who have signed the letter include: Dr. Bryan Coburn of University Health Network; Dr. David Fisman of the University of Toronto and Dalla Lana School of Public Health; and Dr. Janine McCready of Michael Garron Hospital.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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