dr kieran moore

Ontario's top doctor just got back from a beachy vacation and people are not pleased

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, who serves as the face of the province's regular COVID-19 updates (along with Premier Doug Ford, of course), went MIA in recent days, and unfortunately for him, it wasn't without the public noticing.

As wastewater data indicated that case numbers were once again spiking amid a "sixth wave" of the virus, Dr. Kieran Moore failed to make a public appearance for some weeks, leading many to wonder about his whereabouts.

CityNews finally got the details late last night, reporting that Moore had, for about a week of that time, been on a personal vacation.

Back in the earlier days of the pandemic when travel restrictions were in place and leaders were urging the public to stay at home at all costs and avoid any and all non-essential travel, such stories were indeed quite scandalous.

The province's finance minister was forced to resign in December 2020 after taking a family trip to St. Barts, while a member of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table did the same a month later after being outed for his own personal vacation.

One of the people leading the province's vaccine rollout likewise stepped down around the same time while being denounced for a trip to Barbados, and Doug Ford himself was criticized for trips out of his own public health region to visit his cottage while he was telling residents that lockdown restrictions at the time were in part because of people doing that exact thing.

But at this point in the health crisis, is it so wrong for a public health official to take a vacation? Many seem to think so.

Twitter has been abuzz with complaints about Dr. Moore's absence, largely, it seems, due to where he was: on a beach in the Dominican.

But it's not as if Moore used fakeout tweets to deceive the public about where he was like former Finance Minister Rod Phillips did, nor did he try to work remotely from his trip, like one Ontario judge was lambasted for despite being granted permission to do so.

When COVID transmission is again peaking, residents are worrying and case numbers and hospitalizations are trending upwards, people found the trip simply inappropriate in its nature and timing.

During his trip, Moore apparently kept in touch with both an acting and associate chief medical officer of health and "other ministry officials," a spokesperson told City, and he returned on Saturday before giving a long-awaited press conference on Monday.

During that briefing, he revealed that the province is expanding PCR testing eligibility once more and making anti-virals more widely available, saying that upward trends "are likely to continue for the next several several weeks" but that we are in a period of learning to manage and live with COVID-19.

He also advocated for residents to continue to use masks and other protective measures, though they may no longer be legally required.

Speaking about Dr. Moore's disappearance last week, the premier said that the top doctor is "one of the hardest working people" he's ever met.

"He never rests. He works around the clock for the people of Ontario... he is on the job 24/7 looking at the figures, looking at the stats and giving myself and our cabinet advice."

Moore took over his position from Dr. David Williams less than a year ago, at the end of June 2021.

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