York Region’s top doctor wants to see provincial reopening plan accelerated as cases drop
BARRIE, ONT. -- With less than 48 hours until phase one of the province's reopening plan comes into effect, York Region's top doctor believes the Ford Government's plan is a bit too conservative.
"I have always believed the reopening plan is far too cautious, and I would hope that the province would actually accelerate its reopening plan, "says Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region Medical Officer of Health.
According to Dr. Kurji, we still need to open cautiously and continue to practice safe distancing while wearing a mask. Still, he says the gyms, restaurants, and personal care services were never the problem with spreading the COVID-19 virus.
However, the region did see a few outbreaks in these types of locations.
"But that was to be expected," he says. "And we were able to, by in large, control all those with good case contact management."
It is no surprise just how drastic the numbers are dropping. Tuesday, the health unit in York Region only reported 24 new daily infections. Compare that to 68 this day last week, and 277 new cases just a month ago on May 6th.
To date, 98 percent of the region's total infections (52,254) have now recovered, and the number of active cases sits at 265.
While cases continue to decline, the doctor's primary concerns now lie with the number of deaths among York Region residents.
"On a weekly basis, the number seems to be between 10 and 15, which is much too high," says Dr. Kurji.
"When we break down these particular deaths, we find that the majority of them are occurring in people who were not vaccinated or they may have received their first dose within 14 days of acquiring the COVID-19 infection."
With more than 30 active workplace outbreaks, the region says it's working on several strategies to get more vaccines into arms, including running mobile clinics in cooperation with employers.
Another option would allow for walk-ins at vaccination clinics after a survey showed 55 per cent of people who are infected right now said they would have been vaccinated "but just didn't get around to making an appointment."