Stricter measures needed to reduce COVID-19 variant spread, epidemiologist says

Published March 25, 2021 at 7:19 pm

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The scientific director of the taskforce advising Ontario on the pandemic says the province needs to impose stricter measures to curb the spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants.

Dr. Peter Juni of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table says even the strictest level of the province’s current pandemic framework isn’t enough to reduce current infection rates.

More infectious variants were first detected in the province in December and they’ve since become dominant among new cases, according to case data analyzed by the science table.

The province’s top doctor has said the variant cases are causing more severe illness, leading to intensive care admissions and deaths.

Juni says Ontario is currently in a “dynamic phase” of the pandemic and strict measures are needed alongside the ongoing vaccine effort to protect the population.

He says the government needs to impose measures similar to a provincial shutdown seen when the pandemic hit last year.

Ontario reported 2,380 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, although the Ministry of Health said the number was inflated by about 280 cases due to a data processing issue.

Ontario also reported 17 more deaths linked to the virus.

A total of 1,755,596 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given in the province so far.

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