As you click play on this episode, we’re officially in a new phase of the pandemic. More restrictions were lifted on March 1, and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is assuring us that it’s only a matter of time now till our masking days are behind us. So it’s good news, right? Maybe. Let’s ask *the* local expect if the reason for optimism is real!
In our last edition of “Still COVID” back in November, “Omicron” was just another Greek letter. That changed pretty rapidly just a couple of weeks later when that variant started ripping through the population, prompting another brief lockdown in January. Our hospital had three different outbreaks since December, most public health workers spent their Christmas vacation handing out boosters, and let’s not forget those long line-ups for rapid tests.
But now things are looking up. Case counts are going down in general, and so are the number of patients in hospital and in the ICU. As of March 1, all proof of vaccine mandates were lifted here in Ontario, and the state of emergency in Guelph was declared over. On top of that, spring is almost here, and that means a seasonal decrease in COVID cases. So can we now look at COVID-19 as just another seasonal illness?
That’s definitely one of the things we want to talk to Dr. Mercer about. She will also talk about what we learned from the Omicron wave, and her thinking about when her public health order about masking might be revoked. She will also discuss whether the most vulnerable in our population are getting enough consideration as we’re re-opening, when school restrictions might be rolled back, and what the future of COVID might look like going forward.
So, for the eighth time in two years, let’s talk COVID with Dr. Mercer on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
You can stay on top of all the latest COVID-19 precautions and statistics at the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health website here. If you’re interested, there’s a (still virtual) Board of Health meeting on Wednesday March 2 at 2 pm, and you can see the agenda here.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.