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"Tighter Restrictions Needed Now to Halt Spread of COVID-19 in Ontario"

News provided by Ontario Hospital Association

Sep 24, 2020, 09:34 ET

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TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2020 /CNW/ - "Given the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, and the speed at which this virus spreads, now is the time to put public health measures in place 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 province must also ask non-essential businesses to have employees work from home and instruct universities and colleges to offer classes online, wherever possible.

Ontario reported 478 cases on Tuesday, with a seven-day average of approximately 400 cases/day a figure last seen in May at 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.

While maintaining our province's economy is always a priority, we are extremely concerned that, without action, the current rate of spread will require a return to widespread closure of non-essential businesses and schools to prevent a rise in hospitalizations.

At this juncture, the Public Health Agency of Canada is warning that Canada 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.

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."

Written on behalf of:

Dr. Abdel Belhaj, Scarborough Health Network

Dr. Andrea Page, Sinai Health

Dr. Andrew Morris, Sinai Health and University Health Network

Dr. Anne Opavsky, Joseph Brant Hospital

Dr. Allison McGeer, Sinai Health

Dr. Bryan Coburn, University Health Network

Dr. Danny Chen, Mackenzie Health

Dr. Dan Ricciuto, Lakeridge Health

Dr. David Fisman, University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Dr. David Richardson, William Osler Health System

Dr. Gerald Evans, Kingston Health Sciences Centre

Dr. Irfan Dhalla, Unity Health Toronto

Dr. Irving Salit, University Health Network

Dr. James Murdoch, Guelph General Hospital

Dr. Janine McCready, Michael Garron Hospital

Dr. Jeya Nadarajah, Markham Stouffville Hospital

Dr. Julie Wright, University Health Network

Dr. Kevin Gough, Unity Health Toronto

Dr. Larissa Matukas, Unity Health Toronto

Dr. Linda Taggart, Unity Health Toronto

Dr. Lorne Small, Trillium Health Partners

Dr. Lucas Castellani, Sault Area Hospital

Dr. Mark Downing, Unity Health Toronto

Dr. Marek Smieja, McMaster University

Dr. Matthew Muller, Unity Health Toronto

Dr. Megan Devlin, Western University

Dr. Nisha Thampi, CHEO

Dr. Ramzi Fattouh, Unity Health Toronto

Dr. Reena Lovinsky, Scarborough Health Network

Dr. Renee Logan, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Dr. Rupert Kaul, University of Toronto, University Health Network

Dr. Sasan Hosseini, University Health Network

Dr. Shaun Morris, Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Theresa Liu, Grand River and St. Mary's General Hospitals

Dr. Valerie Sales, Markham Stouffville Hospital

Dr. Vishal Joshi, Scarborough Health Network

Dr. Wayne Gold, University Health Network

Dr. William Ciccotelli, Grand River and St. Mary's General Hospitals

The Ontario Hospital Association is distributing the statement on behalf of this group of 38 health care leaders and physicians. Dr. Larissa Matukas, Unity Health Toronto, Dr. Irfan Dhalla, Unity Health Toronto, and Dr. Andrew Morris, Sinai Health and University Health Network, are available for interviews.

SOURCE Ontario Hospital Association

For further information: communications@unityhealth.to or Andrew.morris@sinaihealth.ca

Content last modified on October 01, 2020, at 01:02 AM EST