Ontario nurses warning of risks associated with easing COVID-19 restrictions
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is warning that the government's reopening framework is risking further death as a result of COVID-19, as well as further exacerbating the strain on Ontario hospitals and the closure of schools.
Despite the fact Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, David Williams, announced Ontario had entered a third wave of the virus, the Province has elected to allow out-door dining and out-door fitness classes in regions still under lockdown.
Additionally, the Province has announced hair salons and barbershops will be permitted to reopen by mid-April.
The RNAO has been critical of this decision, suggesting it will only act as a catalyst for the climbing number of daily cases.
“The minister of health has said the next few weeks are critical and she is correct. However, at the same time Minister Elliott is warning Ontarians about the dangers variants of the virus pose, the government is issuing contradictory messages by relaxing public health measures designed to protect people’s health. That’s why we are urging Premier Ford to scale back reopening plans,” Doris Grinspun, CEO of the RNAO, said in a news release.
Further, according to the Province's most recent modeling, the worst-case projections indicate the number of new cases could reach 4,000 per day--they have currently been hovering around 2,000 per day.
“We need to act now to prevent this third wave from being more catastrophic than the second wave. We know with certainty that the virus variants spread much faster. We also fear it makes people far sicker and can result in much higher rates of death,” Grinspun said.
In order to prevent this from happening, the RNAO is urging the Province not to ease restrictions until the number of daily cases is at a more manageable level.
“Nurses know small businesses are suffering and call on the government to help by providing funding to get them through the next few months. We will all go back to patronizing our local businesses when the pandemic is under control. However, we will never get back the lives lost to COVID-19,” Morgan Hoffarth, president of the RNAO, said in the same release.
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