Why Mississauga is concerned about Ontario's plan to lift all COVID-19 restrictions
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, and Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie tour a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Peel Region during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
TORONTO -- Mississauga’s mayor says she has serious concerns about the province’s projected timeline for lifting all remaining COVID-19 restrictions as the city deals with growing strain on its hospital system.
Speaking at the City of Mississauga’s weekly COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Mayor Bonnie Crombie said Trillium Health Partners currently has 22 COVID-19 inpatients, the most virus-related hospitalizations of any other hospital network in Ontario.
“While our case counts have steadily decreased, we have seen some concerning trends in Mississauga with elevated COVID-19 transmission in some areas. Peel Public Health is working hard to understand exactly why this is happening,” she said.
“What we do know is that there are some neighbourhoods in Mississauga with a lower vaccine uptake than the rest of the city, leading to a large number of susceptible residents.”
Crombie said those neighbourhoods include Burnhamthorpe, Applewood, Dixie, Cooksville, and Mississauga Valley.
“That’s translated to unnecessary pressure on our hospital system,” she added.
She said while she remains optimistic that the situation will improve, she said she is concerned the Ford government will move too quickly to lift remaining public health measures.
The province has set a target date of Jan. 17, 2022 to begin lifting its proof-of-vaccination requirements at certain establishments, including restaurants, bars, sports and recreational facilities, and casinos.
By March 28, the province would like to remove all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including masking in indoor settings.
“I appreciate the ambition but these dates give me quite a bit of trepidation,” Crombie said Thursday.
“The last thing anyone wants to see are regulations lifted too quickly and then a sudden spike in cases. We are seeing other jurisdictions like the UK dealing with a surge in cases despite having a large percentage of their population fully vaccinated.”
The province has said they will only proceed with lifting these measures “in the absence of concerning trends.”
“We are now in a position where we can see the proposed plan for lifting the remaining public health and workplace safety measures in Ontario,” Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of Health, said in a statement released last week.
“The months ahead will require continued vigilance, as we don’t want to cause any more unnecessary disruption to people’s everyday lives. We must continue to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities by following the public health measures in place and by vaccinating those who have not yet received their shots.”