COVID-19 daily case counts in Ontario have dropped significantly over the past week, but the provincial government is being advised to keep the stay-at-home order in effect beyond the May 20 expiration date. The pandemic restrictions could continue into June.
Local public health officials in Ontario want the restrictions extended. Not doing so, they said, could spark another wave of the coronavirus pandemic. They have sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford asking for just that.
Among them is Health Minister Christine Elliott, who said the current downward trend in cases since the end of April isn’t enough to justify easing restrictions.
"The medical experts have been very clear that we need to stay the course for right now," she said.
Medical experts want to see a significant drop in number of cases, as well as ICU admissions.
"It would be very very prudent to wait a couple of more weeks," said Paul Roumeliotis, chair of the Council of Medical Officers of Health for Ontario, "because it would a shame to open up too early then have to close again."
Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams, said the numbers would have to be below 1,000 cases before restrictions should be eased.
If the stay-at-home order is extended by a couple of weeks, it could remain in effect until June 2.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 1,294,186 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada: 79,826 active, 1,189,678 resolved and 24,682 deaths.
In Ontario, there have been 495,019 confirmed cases: 31,991 active, 454,701 resolved and 8,327 deaths. There were 2,716 new cases Monday in Ontario, with a seven-day rolling average of 3,017 new cases.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.