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Air purification key to reduce COVID-19 transmission: expert


Officials with the Simcoe Muskoka health unit indicated a looming reintroduction of capacity limits, but one local doctor says the focus should be on air purification.

Dr. Sohail Gandhi said that while he "understands the rationale" following in the footsteps of other Ontario health units by adding stricter capacity measures, he believes the primary focus should be on limiting aerosolized virus transmission.

"I think that would make a bigger difference frankly than limiting the number of people that are in gatherings," said the past president of the Ontario Medical Association and a current Stayner physician.

"We're heading into a very important time of year," Dr. Gandhi said. "We're heading into the Christmas season. People want to spend time together, and it's really important for their mental health that they get the chance to spend that time with their families," he noted, adding that finding a safer way for people to manage gatherings is key.

The health unit hasn't provided a timeline for when it would implement new capacity measures, but on Friday, the associate medical officer of health said they could come as early as this week, calling the move "inevitable."

November's total COVID-19 positive cases were the third-highest monthly rate of the pandemic, prompting the health unit to contemplate stricter measures.

Since Friday, the health unit logged 211 new cases, inching the region closer to 17,000 total confirmed cases.

However, 75 per cent of the eligible population have received both vaccine doses, and as of Monday, individuals 50+ can register for a third dose.

Dr. Gandhi pointed to the highly "politicized" third dose rollout. He noted there aren't enough people under 50 who qualify since the province conducted an age-based rollout for the first two doses due to a limited supply of vaccines at the time.

"Even if we were to arbitrarily open it up right now and say everyone over 18 can get it, there's a very, very small number of people who actually qualify for that because it was the over 50 crowd that's over six months out," he explained. Top Stories

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