Although they were not the changes most people wanted to hear, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health announced Thursday that he was authorizing a couple of positive tweaks, and promised that there would be more to come. For now, extra-curricular activities are back on in Ontario schools, and non-urgent and non-emergency surgeries and procedures should be recommencing soon at hospitals.
“I am pleased to report that our health care and public health indicators continue to demonstrate an improvement in the COVID situation in the province. The average for new COVID-19 positive admissions to hospital continues to decline, as do the total number of patients in hospital with COVID-19,” Dr. Kieran Moore reported in his regular Thursday update. “Similarly, the average for new admissions to the intensive care unit and the total number of patients with COVID-19 in the ICU both continue a downward trend.”
With this new hospital capacity, Moore said Ontario hospitals are now able to “gradually and cautiously” recommence with non-urgent and non-emergency surgeries and procedures with the oversight of regional public health officials as they monitor conditions on the ground.
“We know the health system is still strained in some regions, and directive 2.1 remains in effect to support patient transfers to maximize health care capacity across the province,” Moore added. “As these services resume it will be critical that our health system partners proceed cautiously and continue to demonstrate the tremendous partnership and collaboration they have shown to date so that all regions have the capacity to resume services slowly.”
Moore also announced that the province’s school students can resume their extra-curricular activities. For the most part, students will have to keep their masks on in school generally-speaking, but they will be able to remove them while taking part in activities like team sports or playing musical instruments.
“I know these activities are critical for the physical, social and mental well being of our children, and youth, and I’m pleased that we are now at a point where students in Ontario will once again be able to access these activities within a school setting,” Moore added.
As to a more fulsome withdrawal of mandates and restrictions, Moore said he’s working on it, but didn’t point to any specific timeline or any specific change to those regulations. He did say that the peak of Omicron is behind us, and that’s it time to start having those conversations about what everyday life will look like going forward.
“We’re actively planning what the future looks like and laying out timelines for what public health measures can be lifted, and when,” Moore said.
“We need to continue to apply what we have learned and know what works,” he added. |It’s clear that the situation in Ontario today, as it relates to COVID-19, is different than when proof of vaccination and masking requirements were first introduced. With this in mind, we are looking at the plan to consider when we can recommend to government what additional measures can be eased.”