Health officials warn COVID risk remains high despite gradual reopening

Health officials warn COVID risk remains high despite gradual reopening

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over.

Caution is being urged by London and Middlesex County’s newly-minted medical officer of health as the province gradually lifts pandemic restrictions.

“Continue to function as though we are still in the midst of a pandemic,” Dr. Alex Summers told a media briefing. “We are clearly shifting from an emergency response to a resilience response.”

Ontario has already removed the requirement to show proof of vaccination prior to indoor dining, and next week will lift masking requirements at many indoor settings.

However, Dr. Summers warns that community spread is still occurring.

“The risk of COVID remains high in our community, and the risk is likely still higher than at any point prior to the Omicron wave,” he explains.

Summers believes the provincial decision to lift many pandemic restrictions is based on the government’s confidence in the level of acquired immunity through either vaccination or infection.

Given the limitations placed on testing, the medical officer of health admits the number of COVID cases in the region is unknown, but province-wide monitoring shows the prevalence of a more contagious strain of Omicron is on the rise.

The BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is expected to soon become the dominant strain in the region.

Summers says his best advice is to continue following pandemic measures like wearing a mask and getting a vaccine booster.

“I think there is still some uncertainty as we continue to spend much of our time indoors.”

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