Ontario’s top doctor says residents should expect some public health measures to remain in place over the summer season despite the downward trend of the number of COVID-19 cases in the province.
Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said Saturday the reopening of businesses and resumption of activities will come with caveats.
“We still have to have some of those (public health) steps in place,” Williams said, adding that Ontario wouldn’t be back to the way it was before the pandemic.
He said Ontario may continue to see a small number of novel coronavirus cases in the coming months.
“It wouldn’t be totally absent from us over the summer,” Williams said.
Ontario reported 55 more deaths and 511 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the total number of novel coronavirus cases to 17,119.
Williams said Ontarians need to keep their guards up over the summer because modellers are predicting another wave in the early fall.
The second wave is not expected to be as big as the first one, Williams said.
“We’re looking for that right balance of some resumption of activities, but also with the caution in there to be taking those extra measures…so that we might be able to maybe even avoid a wave in the fall,” he said.
Williams said potential relaxation of public health measures will depend on the number of community transmission cases.
Williams said that number is still hovering in the mid-200s. He said he would like to see it well below 200 over the coming days before public health officials could decide on relaxing some COVID-19 measures.
“We just have to be consistent at doing it and keep doing it as we try to get those numbers down extensively,” he said.
The province announced Friday that certain businesses will be allowed to reopen next week. Ontario previously said it would restart Ontario’s economy in three stages, allowing more businesses to reopen at each phase of the process.
Williams said they are looking to make “strong gains” this month. That’s why officials urged the public to keep practicing physical distancing as warm weather arrives.
“Now is not the time to throw things off and be casual. We need to still be vigilant in all our activities in order to bring this one down and to stop the transmission in our communities,” Williams said.
“While the weather’s looking good, we’d like the data to look even better.”