Toronto's transition into Ontario's opening framework subject to public health trends

Feb 18 2021, 11:25 am

Toronto’s transition into Ontario’s opening framework is dependent on public health trends, as the city is set to have the Stay at Home orders lifted next week.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health said in a statement to Daily Hive, “our government has been clear that we will be taking a very cautious approach, rooted in data, and any decision will be made in consultation with the local medical officers of health.”

“As we previously stated, the transition into the framework is subject to public health trends. We have not hesitated to extend the Stay at Home order when necessary, like we did in North Bay.”

The comment comes a day after Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, called on the provincial government to delay lifting the orders in Ontario from February 22 to March 5, at the earliest.

In a letter sent on February 13, de Villa wrote to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, to delay moving Toronto into the province’s reopening framework.

The reason being that a large percentage of the population is still not vaccinated. Based on other jurisdictions, the COVID-19 variants of concern are causing an increase in cases due to its higher transmissibility, school safety, and public perception — if parts of the economy reopen, it gives a false sense of security.

“I have never been as worried about the future as I am today,” de Villa said during the press conference on Wednesday.

She said there are 56 variants of concern cases in Toronto and more than 380 being screened.

“It means we face a deceptively dangerous situation. Right now, the case count numbers don’t look so bad, but today’s variant count is the tip of an iceberg.”

De Villa compared the situation to Germany, which recently reported that the UK variant accounted for 6% of cases two weeks ago, and now accounts for 22%, with the proportion of cases doubling every week.

“Exponential growth is what Toronto faces,” de Villa said.

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