The province is moving into Phase 1 of reopening Ontario at midnight Thursday, but the Porcupine Health Unit region will not.
Medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton is emphatic about that. “The numbers are really clear,” she remarks. “There is no way that we can reopen this week.”
PHU continues to see an increasing number of COVID-19 cases every day. Catton intends to use her authority to override the provincial plan.
“What exactly that looks like, we’re working through right now,” she adds, “but yes, there will be local direction on where we are going. And unfortunately at this time, it will not be opening further settings.”
“And I know that’s going to be very challenging and that the emotions are going to get even higher, the frustrations are going to be higher.”
Catton says everyone needs to focus on supporting each other, and collectively take steps to get us to the point of reopening faster.
HEALTH MINISTER WEIGHS IN
Ontario health minister Christine Elliott acknowledges that it is within Dr. Catton’s realm to issue a Section 22 order, delaying entry into Step 1 of reopening. And she says the government won’t require it.
“We have been supporting Porcupine with sending them extra doses of the vaccine,” the minister observes. So we want to work with them and support them so that they can move into Step 1.”
Elliott notes that high cases in other parts of the province are also due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which originated in India.
“The medical experts have indicated that they don’t anticipate that there will be a huge increase in these variants that will prevent us from moving into Stage 1 and then from Stage 1 into Stage 2.”