Circuit breaker could play a role in slowing COVID-19 spread, says Kingston expert

Click to play video: 'Circuit breaker could play a role in slowing COVID-19 spread'
Circuit breaker could play a role in slowing COVID-19 spread
WATCH: Dr. Gerald Evans says a circuit breakers could by the most effective method to deal with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant – Dec 17, 2021

The number of daily COVID-19 cases in the Kingston, Ont., area has surpassed 100 for at least a week. Combined with the dominance of the Omicron variant, Dr. Gerald Evans says a circuit breaker could have an impact on rising COVID-19 infections.

“When you look at the modelling the science table put out this week it suggests that a circuit breaker would be potentially very useful to quickly get control of the numbers,” said Evans.

Evans is the Chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor in the departments of medicine at Queen’s University, along with being an attending physician at Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu Hospital.

Read more: Ontario announces new restrictions in response to Omicron COVID variant

Kingston’s move to limit private gatherings to no more than five people is set to expire Monday, just as the Ford government enacts a new provincewide limit of 10 for social gatherings.

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Evans says a circuit breaker usually runs for two or three weeks and is intended to buy time to increase vaccination levels.

“Get third doses into people, more second doses into children and when you emerge out of the circuit breaker that is now in place and will help to sort of keep those numbers down,” said Evans.

A circuit breaker would involve restrictions focused on capacity limits for areas where people congregate and are known to health officials for spreading the virus.

“Bars, nightclubs, fitness centres and gyms – because even with vaccine certificates and other things, we know they can still result in transmission, especially with Omicron,” said Evans adding it could also include sporting and entertainment venues.

Evans says he doesn’t see a full lockdown being part of a circuit breaker though.

“You could leave businesses open, put in significant capacity limits, have people go back to some curbside pick-up,” said Evans.

Read more: Omicron FAQ: Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 variant

Evans says Omicron has been the fly in the ointment that has led to the dramatic increase in COVID numbers.

“It replicates 70 times faster than Delta,” said Evans. “The result of that is the incubation period is shorter, we think that people likely within 48 hours are going to be shedding larger amounts of virus than they did with the previous variants and because that short incubation period occurs there’s more chance for asymptomatic transmission.”

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The Ford government hasn’t moved to a provincewide circuit breaker but has introduced a customer capacity of 50 per cent to a host of businesses, including retailers, shopping malls, LCBO, grocery stores, pharmacies, gyms and restaurants.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario reduces gathering, capacity limits in response to Omicron'
COVID-19: Ontario reduces gathering, capacity limits in response to Omicron

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