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'The worst is behind us': Ontario's top doctor speaks on COVID-19 Omicron spread

The worst of Omicron-fuelled COVID-19 infections in Ontario is “behind us,” the province’s top doctor said on Thursday.

“We reached our peak several weeks ago, and that correlates to a rise in admissions to hospitals, which peaked in the third week of January, and they’ve been coming down ever since,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said.

“I do think that the peak in risk and the peak in activity of Omicron is behind us.”

Moore said that there is still an existing risk related to catching COVID-19, which is why health measures like masking in public spaces are still in place. However, he said he and his team will continue to monitor transmission trends to determine when that mandate can be lifted.

On vaccine passports, Moore said that they have “served their purpose” and that the science supports the government’s decision to end proof-of-vaccination requirements on March 1 at all non-essential businesses.

“Their intended purpose was to improve immunization to further protect Ontarians. I thank all Ontarians that have come forward to get vaccinated, but they have served their purpose to protect us and, as any public health measure, they have to be removed in a timely manner,” Moore said.

He also said that vaccination policies in colleges and universities, as well as within the province’s health-care system, are no longer necessary and that their removal should align with when the mandate lifts at a population level.

Moore’s comments come on the same day that Ontario further relaxed public health restrictions which allowed businesses where proof of vaccination is currently required, such as restaurants, gyms and cinemas, to scrap capacity limits.

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Ontario currently sit at 1,342 -- their lowest level since Jan. 4 – and have continued to decline since the beginning of the month in lockstep with ICU admissions.

And as Ontario’s COVID-19 situation improves, Moore said he “absolutely” does not want to impose any new public health restrictions should a new COVID-19 variant emerge.

“We’ve got a very robust surveillance system, we can expand our PCR testing capacity if necessary, to try to deal with a new strain or variant. We’ve got plenty of public health experience and health system infrastructure are now in place, more ICU beds, more treatment options for patients. I think we’re in a much better position.” Top Stories

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