Ontario’s fall pandemic preparedness plan may include targeted restrictions, such as closing higher-risk businesses rather than imposing widespread lockdown measures. This is, at least, according to a 21-page draft document of the plan provided by a government source and obtained by CBC News this week.
According to the news outlet, the draft plan acknowledges the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases, and suggests that targeted actions may be taken to adjust/tighten public health measures. The draft says that if cases start rising, then a specific workplace or organization (or a certain type of higher-risk business in a local area) could be closed for a period of time or have additional public health measures/restrictions applied until trends in public health indicators improve.
The draft suggests that plan will include:
- At least $2.2 billion to the pandemic response, with nearly $1.4 billion on a range of public health measures (e.g., ways to prevent transmission of the virus, contact tracing, and increased testing capacity).
- $475 million to prepare the provincial healthcare system for a surge in COVID-19 cases.
- $284 million to reduce backlogs in-hospital procedures/surgeries.
- $30 million to identify, manage, and prevent COVID outbreaks in schools, long-term cares, and other settings.
- $90 million, labelled as “TBC” (to be confirmed) for wage enhancement for personal support workers in-home/community care.
The document adds: “The return to an earlier stage of provincial reopening, or even regional approaches to tightening would be avoided in favour of organization-specific or localized changes.”
The full plan is expected to be revealed in the coming days. In the meantime, social media already has a lot to say about the draft.
Is anyone actually surprised that “we will announce our plans over the week” actually meant “we havent figured it out yet” ?
— AnnSciArt (@annsciart) September 24, 2020
@CBCQueensPark why not include a link to “#Ontario fall pandemic preparedness plan?” Your report based off 21 pgs is sparse on details. As a citizen I’d like to know what #DougFord could be but isn’t doing to slow #COVID19’s spread—experts would be able to evaluate more fully.
— Kay Lynne 🇨🇦♿️ (@BrvHrt09) September 24, 2020
Whichever scenario plays out, the plan favours responding with targeted restrictions, rather than widespread closures or a lockdown.
CBC has obtained Ontario’s fall pandemic plan. Here’s what’s in it | CBC News https://t.co/L3jpjKgdOD
— Ranga (@Ranga80892327) September 24, 2020
As of September 23, there were a total of 48,496 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to date in Ontario. Compared to the previous day, this represents an increase of 409 confirmed cases and an increase of 1 death.
Currently, in Stage 3 of the provincial reopening, there is a limit of 50 people on social gatherings indoors and 100 outdoors. The exception is in COVID-hot spots—Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa— where there is a limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Click here to read more about those restrictions.