Ontario premier says residents now interact with 50 to 100 people, causing 'out of control' COVID-19 contact tracing
Doug Ford is seen in this photograph at Queen's Park. (The Canadian Press)
TORONTO -- Premier Doug Ford says Ontario residents are now interacting with 50 to 100 people, making COVID-19 contact tracing very difficult.
“What we did see when we did contact tracing at the beginning, we’d be able to contact 10 people and trace them. Now, people are interacting with 50 to 100 and if you have 100 cases times 100, 10,000 contact tracings and then those people contact 100 and then those people – next thing you know it just flies out of control,” Ford said during a news conference held on Friday afternoon.
The premier’s comments come in response to the federal government calling on Canadians to decrease their current number of social contacts by 25 per cent in order to help curb the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While releasing new national modelling on Friday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said if Canadians maintain their current rate of contacts, the epidemic is forecast to resurge. They said if residents decrease their contacts by a quarter, the spread of the novel coronavirus would come under control “in most locations.”
When asked on Friday if the province is considering lowering the limits on social gatherings – currently set at 10 indoors and 25 outdoors – Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health said a review on the matter will take place.
“I think the bottom line is yes, we will review that obviously and consider whether we need to change the guidelines,” she said reminding people to be aware that COVID-19 generally spread between people.
“If you’re with people who are not people in your household, people you live with, you should be careful. You should minimize your contact with other people, especially within two metres, wear a mask and don’t do anything that’s not essential.”
Yaffe added that those who live alone should interact with another household to avoid social isolation.
Back in August, Ford said social circles of up to 10 people will likely be sticking around until 2021.
Ontario logged 896 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the seven-day average above 900 for the first time.
More than 74,000 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Ontario since the first infection was recorded in late January. That number includes more than 3,100 deaths and nearly 64,000 recovered patients.