Eastern Ontario's top doctor wants Ontario to wait 21 days before entering Step 2
OTTAWA -- Eastern Ontario's medical officer of health wants the Ontario government to stick to the three-week timeline in the Roadmap to Reopen plan before easing more restrictions, to allow more time for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Premier Doug Ford plans to meet with chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams to discuss whether Ontario can make an earlier move to Step 2.
Ontario's three-step plan released in May stated the province must stay in each stage for at least 21 days. Step 1 began in Ottawa on June 11, meaning Step 2 is scheduled to begin on July 2.
Speaking on CTV News at Five, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said he would like Ontario to wait the full three weeks before relaxing the restrictions.
"I would stick to the 21 days," said Dr. Roumeliotis.
"We're seeing wastewater numbers go up in Ottawa, as well as in other parts of the province. We're worried about the Delta."
On Thursday, Ontario added Hamilton, Simcoe-Muskoka and Durham Region to the Delta variant hot spot list, which means adult residents in those areas are eligible to book their second vaccine sooner.
Dr. Roumeliotis said waiting the full 21 days before moving to Step 2 would allow the province to get the vaccination numbers up.
"So I think it's worth the extra couple of days of the sacrifice of not opening earlier just to give us enough time to be able to ensure the (COVID case) numbers are down and that we continue our vaccination process," said Dr. Roumeliotis.
"You know, we're vaccinating 200,000 people a day, so a three or four-day difference would make over half-a-million people given a second dose."
On Thursday, Dr. Williams said he would only consider speeding up Step 2 by "a day or two."
"There's an end to the journey in sight," Williams said. "Let's make sure we get there safely, rather than doing something careless or reckless along the way."
To enter Step 2 under the reopening plan, 70 per cent of adults need to be vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated with two doses.
When Ontario moves to Step 2, indoor gatherings of up to five people are allowed, along with outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people.
Here is a look at what's allowed in Ottawa in Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen plan:
- Outdoor dining for up to six people per table
- Essential retail at 50 per cent capacity
- Non-essential retail capacity at 25 per cent
- Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times
- Outdoor cinemas and performing arts with capacity limits
- Outdoor boat tour operators
- Outdoor tour and guide services with capacity limits
- Outdoor sports leagues and events
- Public libraries with capacity limits
- Outdoor waterparks and amusement parks with capacity limits
- Fairs and rural exhibitions with capacity limits
With files from CTV News Toronto's Sean Davidson