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Ontario's top doctor says indoor dining is still better than a backyard gathering 'where no one is monitoring anything'

Elisabetta Bianchini
·2-min read

Following some concerns around the Ontario government's decision to expand indoor dining in Red-Control and Orange-Restrict regions of the province, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, provided more information on how that decision was made.

"One of the complaints before was that when he had the total of 10 in the Red zone, for example,...people said well, if you’re a small place that can only seat about 20, 30 people that may be OK," he explained. "We had other places that have a huge capacity that can normally seat [300] to 400 people and they said having 10 in there doesn’t makes sense."

"If people went to an indoor place that is carefully monitored, it’s better than someone’s backyard or in a garage where no one is monitoring anything and we're seeing outbreaks related to that. That’s very perplexing and concerning."

As of Monday, the per cent positivity for COVID-19 tests in Ontario has reached 5.4 per cent, the first time over five per cent since Feb. 1.

There are currently 1,424 confirmed variant cases of COVID-19, including 1,340 B.1.1.7 variant cases, 48 B.1.351 cases and 36 P1 variant cases. There are an additional 13,226 mutations detected where no lineage has been determined. The seven-day rolling average for variants of concern is 46.4 per cent, up from 37.9 per cent one week ago.

"We’re in the third wave, the number are slowly going up," Dr. Williams said.

Despite the warning about the third wave of COVID-19 in Ontario, the province's chief medical officer of health said he was "OK" to expand indoor dining in some regions of the province, with the proper protocols in place.

"That means people...have to register when you go in, we have to know your name and address and where you’re from because if there’s an outbreak we have to follow that on in a stringent way," he said. "As well, have more inspections by both public health as well as Minister of Labour to ensure that there’s compliance with those programs and services."

"If it doesn’t hold and the numbers go back up then it’s back into lockdown and there would be only outdoor dining, and no indoor dining."