Despite climbing vaccination rates, Province remains cautious when it comes to reopening

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Published June 24, 2021 at 11:09 am

The Province has announced, with the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to drop, and vaccination rates climbing, Ontario will be entering Step 2 of the reopening framework two days ahead of schedule.

However, according to the latest numbers from the Province, Ontario has already met the vaccination threshold for entering Step 3, with a week still remaining before entering Step 2.

Some have asked why, given the current vaccination rates, the Province is moving so slow when it comes to reopening.

According to David Williams, the outgoing Chief Medical Officer of Health, vaccination rates are just one factor in the Province’s reopening plan.

“The vaccination markers are one of the metrics—they’re one of the milestones we need to achieve. There are other metrics we’re looking at as well, including daily cases. We’re seeing outbursts in Kitchener-Waterloo, and there are some others that are showing concerning trends,” Williams said in a press conference. “Currently 75 per cent of adults have been administered one dose of a vaccine, that means one in four people aren’t vaccinated, which can lead to outbreaks of the virus. We’re seeing outbreaks of the Delta variant in other parts of the world.”

Additionally, Williams stressed the Province’s desire to ensure the next time it reopens, it remains open permanently. “While everyone is in a rush to open up, we don’t want to reopen and then have to close again—reopening and then closing is very disruptive to everyone,” he said.

Further, according to Kieran Moore, who is replacing Williams as the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Province would like to see higher rates of fully-immunized individuals, due to the spread of the Delta variant.

“The Delta variant currently makes up 50 per cent of strains identified in Ontario,” Moore said. “Despite high immunization rates, we’re seeing a resurgence of the virus in other parts of the world. We’re also learning that two doses is highly protective against the Delta variant.”

Since Monday, the Province has reported a total of 847 new cases of COVID-19, according to Williams, and the seven-day average is down to 305 cases per day, which is a 31 per cent decrease from last week’s average of 443 cases.

Moreover, the positivity rate also continues to drop—today’s it’s at just one per cent, which is the lowest it’s been since September.

In order to ensure vaccination rates remain steady, Williams is encouraging those who have received one dose of an mRNA vaccine take the first appointment available to them, regardless of the brand being offered.

“The most important thing is people complete the series—get both doses—it is perfectly safe to mix the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. The technology between mRNA vaccines is quite similar,” he said.

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