Ontario can only have ‘good summer’ if COVID-19 vaccines continue, some measures remain: officials

Ontario’s latest modelling projections indicate that maintaining good progress on COVID-19 vaccinations and some public health measures until mid-June “can help ensure a good summer.”

On Thursday, the science advisory table released modelling documents that indicated cases, test positivity and hospitalization rates are declining. It also said due to current public health measures “control of the pandemic is improving.”

However, officials also noted that “school reopening will create an increase in cases” but that this “may be manageable.”

They also said outdoor activities are much safer than indoor activities and should be encouraged.

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Ontario government set to unveil gradual COVID-19 reopening plan for province

Ontario COVID-19 modelling data released May 20, 2021.

Government of Ontario

Premier Doug Ford is set to unveil a gradual reopening plan for the province Thursday at 3 p.m. The current stay-at-home order is expected to expire on June 2.

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Thursday saw 2,400 new COVID-19 infections, which was higher than the previous two days which saw case counts below 2,000. However, in the last month test positivity has dropped from around 10 per cent to five per cent on Thursday.

Read more:
Ontario reports 2,400 new COVID-19 cases, 27 deaths

A month ago, daily case counts were around 4,000 or higher which shows a significant decline — although daily case counts are still higher than they were last spring and summer.

Hospitalizations have also decreased from around 2,300 admissions one month ago to 1,320 on Thursday. However, officials noted that ICU capacity has only dropped slightly from the high 800s a month ago to 721 on Thursday.

“The direction of the pandemic has turned,” said Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, co-chair for Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table

“If we’re careful and cautious, we can maintain this momentum. And this momentum is what gets us to a good summer,” Brown said.

Higher vaccination coverage has started to control hospitalizations in older age groups, officials noted in the documents. More than 80 per cent of those aged 70 and older have at least one dose of vaccine. Vaccinations with at least one dose in those aged 60 to 64 are at 75 per cent, and 79 per cent for people aged 65 to 69.

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So far, Ontario has administered more than 7.5 million vaccine doses, with between 100,000 and 150,000 vaccinations daily. There are 473,759 people fully vaccinated with two doses.

Ontario vaccine percentages by age (at least one dose) as of May 17, 2021.

Government of Ontario

— More to come

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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