Coronavirus: Ontario doctors weigh in on debate of moving back to Stage 2, future of COVID-19

Click to play video 'Ontario doctors weigh in on how to get through second coronavirus wave' Ontario doctors weigh in on how to get through second coronavirus wave
After a day that saw a record-high 700 new COVID-19 cases in the province, talk of whether to move Ontario back to stage two has re-emerged. Shallima Maharaj hears from those on the frontlines. – Sep 29, 2020

As the interim chief of emergency with William Osler Health System, Dr. Andrew Healey has observed firsthand the consequences of contracting the coronavirus.

Healey said he has provided care to critically-ill pneumonia patients with COVID-19.

“I think it is going to be about us recognizing that waiting to act is not going to make acting any easier,” he said when asked about getting through the second wave.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario hospitals call on government to move certain regions back to Stage 2

Seven hundred additional cases were reported on Monday, the highest daily increase the province has seen to date. On the same day, the Ontario Hospital Association called on the province to move some regions back to Stage 2.

“Whether we go back to Stage 2 or not is a question for public policy, I think,” Healey said.

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“Do I think it makes sense to reopen casinos at the same time as we’re asking people to take more precautions individually? That doesn’t really seem congruent to me.”

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A number of casinos across Ontario reopened for the first time in months, including 11 Great Canadian Gaming Corp. sites. Gathering limits in the province remain at no more than 50 people. Table games are also not allowed, but slots will be open.

Dr. Ian Brasg, an infectious disease physician at Humber River Hospital, said he believes a return to the Stage 2 is in order.

“On a personal note, I don’t think anyone’s been following truly that 10-person restriction where you look at everyone in your bubble and see who’s in their bubble,” he said.

“I worry that these little circles have looked a bit more like a chain-link fence with tons of overlap with other groups.”

On Tuesday, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) issued the findings of its latest survey, done between August 19 and August 24, with 1,459 physician members as respondents.

It found that more than half of physicians continue to face challenges when trying to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE), which CMA President Dr. Ann Collins said is critical for the delivery of health care.

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According to the survey, 68 per cent of respondents are concerned about insufficient stocks of PPE and 62 per cent anticipate orders will be delayed.

“We’ve got to reconsider our bubble sizes. I think there was a little fatigue through the summer, but I think we’ve got to pull back,” Collins said with respect to recent spike in cases.

“We’ve got to ask ourselves about our social interactions. Do we really need to go to that party or to that gathering?”