Ontario pauses plan to lift capacity limits in higher-risk settings ‘out of abundance of caution’

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The plan to lift capacity limits in remaining higher-risk settings today, Nov. 15 have been paused by the province’s chief medical officer of health, “out of an abundance of caution as the province monitors public health trends.”

Capacity limits and physical distancing will remain at night clubs, event spaces where there is dancing (for example, those that host wedding receptions), strip clubs and other such venues where proof of vaccination is required.

“While Ontario has continued to make progress as a result of its safe and cautious approach to reopening, it is necessary to make this deliberate pause as we approach the winter holidays where more people will begin gathering indoors and where students will be returning to in-class learning in January after celebrating with friends and family,” Dr. Kieran Moore, chief medical officer of health said in a news release Wednesday.

Infection rates will likely fluctuate or increase over the coming months, he added.

Transmission right now is predominantly happening in younger age groups and among the unvaccinated, he said, adding higher rates of infection are being seen among the 20-39 age group in social settings where there is close contact.

“This virus is not going away,” Moore said, adding he was “disconcerted” to hear of some establishments not asking patrons to show their vaccine QR codes

Ontario “will not take steps backwards,” he said, adding rising rates of infection will be fought with regional public health measures.

The province reported 454 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths linked to the illness on Wednesday, with the seven-day average of daily infections topping 500.

Wednesday’s case count is a 20 per cent increase over the same time last week, when Ontario logged 378 new infections, and marks a 10th straight day of week-over-week jumps.

The seven-day average climbed to 503, a level last seen in mid-October. Last Wednesday, the seven-day average sat at 379.

However, the burden of COVID-19 on hospitals has remained relatively stable. Of as Tuesday, there were 136 patients being treated for COVID-related illnesses in the province’s intensive care units.

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