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Ontario Warns Omicron Restrictions May Exceed Jan 26

Don’t make dinner reservations right away.

Restaurant closures for indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters and other restrictions could remain in place past their scheduled expiration date as Ontario sets daily records for COVID-hospitalizations 19, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kieran Moore warned Thursday.

“I can’t guarantee the 26th,” Moore said of the January date for the lifting of restrictions Prime Minister Doug Ford set earlier this month. “As a society, we must continue to protect the health care system. ”

Ontario’s top doctor also reported that people with weakened immune systems, including those undergoing chemotherapy and dialysis, will be eligible for a fourth vaccine starting Friday, provided they are 84 days old. after their third dose.

While the Omicron wave could peak early next week with a stabilization in the number of cases, Moore told his weekly press conference that health officials must see hospitalizations level off before the province can begin to ease. restrictions.

Even then, the measures would be lifted gradually, in two-week stages to measure their impact, meaning that it will take time for some companies to regain their full capacity.

“A sudden reopening, I would be worried about another wave of Omicron,” Moore said. It’s unclear exactly when Omicron’s cases will stabilize, but when they do, it follows that a week or two later there will be spikes in hospitalizations and ward admissions. intensive.

The science director of the science table advising Ford and Moore said the mobility of Ontarians is declining, COVID-19 test positivity rates are falling, and hospital admission rates are slowing. are all good signs.

“If we’re lucky, we might start to see hospital occupancy rates level off next week,” said Dr Peter Juni, who stressed that it was “too early” to ease restrictions on businesses while the province assesses the impact of reopening schools. for classroom learning on Monday.

The lack of widespread PCR testing to get an accurate tally of cases makes it a “tough time” to measure where the province is at, which is why health officials are taking a closer look at indications of COVID-19 levels in the provinces. sewage, he added. Other scientific table models could be ready by the end of next week.

Delays in reopening will further hurt struggling businesses, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said in calling for increased financial support.

“This is deeply disturbing,” President Dan Kelly said on Twitter.

Ontario hit its seventh consecutive record for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Thursday, with 3,630 patients, an increase of 182 from the previous day. There were 500 coronavirus patients in intensive care, a number that could double by the end of next week according to the scientific table forecast.

Moore urged Ontarians who are eligible to receive their booster shots, especially those over age 50, to help keep a lid on infection levels.

“What will derail us is if we don’t maintain the booster doses,” he said.

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