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Doug Ford says the worst of Omicron is now behind us but some people don't agree

Premier Doug Ford's announcement brought good news today with the promise of a slow reopening but a few contradictions came out in the messaging.

With the spread of Omicron, the province reverted to a modified Step 2 set of restrictions on Jan. 5. But this morning Ford announced a cautious reopening with gyms, cinemas and restaurants opening again on Jan. 31 with 50 per cent capacity limits. Social gathering limits will increase to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.

Looking to the future with optimism, Ford says: "We can be confident that the worst is behind us and that we are now in a position to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures. While February will continue to present its own challenges, given current trends these are challenges we are confident we can manage."

But during a press conference on Jan. 20, Minister of Health Christine Elliott indicated the worst is not yet behind us — particularly if you are in danger of being hospitalized for COVID.

"We don't expect the peak of the admissions to ICU to happen until about mid-February or the second week of February," Elliott said.

She added that both hospitalizations and admissions to ICU are "lagging indicators." So first, the cases increase and then more people are admitted into hospital for serious complications requiring acute care.

But people noticed the contradiction and suggested Ford is an "exaggerator" who is just trying to boost approval ratings.

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore clarified that the province monitors a series of data points.

"It's not one number that we're monitoring," Moore said.

The percentage of tests that are positive is on the decline at 15 per cent, he said. In addition to ICU admissions, they also look at the number of outbreaks in long term care facilities.

The number of people calling in sick seems to be decreasing as well.

"We're seeing improvement in those metrics and they're plateauing," he said.

Moore suggested hospital admissions would start to plateau by Jan. 31.

"But February will be difficult as well," he added.

The number of people getting their booster shots will play a role in how the numbers look.

"We can immunize more than 100,000 a day so important that anyone with an underlying medical illness in Ontario gets their third dose, especially those that are 50 and older," he said. "And there are appointments available across Ontario to do that over the next several days."

Lead photo by

Premier of Ontario Photography

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