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Should Ontario reopen sooner? COVID-19 case rise has top doctor unsure about moving up timeline

·2-min read

While Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he has asked the province's health table to look at moving Ontarians into the first stage of the reopening plan earlier than the expected June 14 date, Ontario's chief medical officer of health was a bit less optimistic about that possibility.

"This recent rise [in cases] in the last few days, which is not atypical of what we experience week over week, is a bit more than we anticipated but we want to make sure this is just a temporary one, maybe related to the Victoria Day weekend," Dr. David Williams said at a press conference on Thursday.

RELATED: Ontario's reopening plan: What you can and can't do in upcoming months

"The data at the moment is less promising at this time but we want to make sure we look at it early next week to have an idea of what it might be. If all our indicators are in a good position, we were looking for the week of the 14th. We would like to see if we can improve on that but it really is down to the numbers. I hope we don’t have a continued rise over the weekend of more cases, getting over a thousand again, that would be disappointing to say the least."

Ontario reported 870 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with 34,277 tests completed in the last 24 hours. This is up from 733 cases reported on Wednesday, 699 cases reported on Tuesday and down from 916 reported cases on Monday.

Dr. Williams said he wants to see the positivity rate decrease as case numbers hopefully come down, currently sitting at 2.8 per cent.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health added he has concerns about data showing an increase in "influenza-like illness" in Ontario, which is usually quite low in at this point in the year.

"We don’t want to have a chance of going into a fourth wave," Dr. Williams said.

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