The CEO of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) doesn't understand why the provincial government is lifting COVID-19 public health restrictions at such a rapid rate at this moment in the pandemic.
Full capacity was allowed at large sport, concert and movie venues starting last week, and it's expected that, as of sometime next week, capacity limits in most public places like restaurants, bars and gyms will be relaxed.
"I hope that we don't end up, in the winter, with, yet again, a fifth wave," Dr. Doris Grinspun told CityNews' The Sam Laprade Show on Thursday, October 14. "And I'm afraid that we will with the lifting of the conditions."
"I am very very very mindful of how exhausted people are -- we all are," she continued. "I am also though, extremely, keenly aware of the state of medicine at this point and the fact that they cannot handle a fifth wave. They are at the breaking point and people are leaving the profession. So, this is what we are gambling with this reopening."
Grinspun added that she believes the government is also gambling with Christmas. Families were discouraged from getting together due to COVID-19 last winter, and she's worried that it could happen again this season.
COVID-19 case numbers have been slowly decreasing in recent weeks, with just over 300 new cases reported across the province on Wednesday.
Vaccination numbers also continue to increase and have surpassed the province’s original metrics for exiting Step 3 of its 'roadmap to recovery' with 87 per cent of the population eligible to be vaccinated having one dose and 82.5 per cent fully vaccinated. In Ottawa those numbers climb to 89 per cent with one shot and 85 per cent with two.
Ontario's vaccine certificate app is expected to launch next Friday, October 22, which will allow residents to upload their information to a QR code for establishments to verify their vaccination statuses. Proof-of-vaccination is currently required in most indoor settings including dine-in restaurants, gyms, indoor events and sports facilities.