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Statement
April 05, 2021

Ontario’s doctors say pandemic wake up call needed

TORONTO, April 5, 2021—Ontario’s doctors are concerned that we are entering the worst phase of the pandemic since last spring and urge everyone – all levels of government and every Ontarian – to take the warning seriously and do what they can to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Given the sobering new statistics being released every day – each one representing a person, with worried family and friends – the Ontario Medical Association is calling for five urgent actions:

  • a government stay-at-home order, meaning people leave their homes only for essential business such as medical appointments, grocery shopping and outdoor exercise
  • closure of all non-essential businesses, although curbside pickup should remain an option
  • immunization of all essential workers and disadvantaged workers, and residents of hotspots
  • paid sick leave for essential workers
  • every Ontarian should take the first vaccination offered to them

“I know that everyone is exhausted,” said OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill. “The last year of living under restrictions, with fluctuating levels of fear, and serious visible inequities, have affected our social, mental and economic health. But right now, we are all in danger. We must implement our strictest level of public health measures. The consequences of not doing so could include more people sick and dying than we have experienced thus far; so many so, that doctors could no longer care for everyone.”

More than 3,000 Ontarians are contracting COVID-19 every day. Most of them are essential workers, catching the virus on the job. In the last week of March 2020, the number of daily new cases ranged from 211 to 462. This year, it ranged from 2,333 to 3,089 daily new cases.

More and more of infected people are bringing the virus home, and doctors are seeing entire families being infected. The new variants of COVID are striking younger people, who are being hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units at alarming rates. Greater Toronto Area hospitals are being forced to transfer almost 90 patients to hospitals outside the region in the next few days so that they can cope with new admissions.

The OMA notes that current statistics are already at least one week to 10 days out of date because of the lag in reporting, meaning the numbers will continue to climb regardless of whether new measures are imposed.

“Ontario’s doctors are calling for immediate action to halt the third wave,” said OMA CEO Allan O’Dette. “We are in a dangerous moment right now with case numbers rising at an alarming pace. A new stay-at-home order, vaccines for essential workers, and paid sick days are all sensible policies that will help get infections under control and support the tireless efforts of our public health doctors as they lead us out of this pandemic.”


About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000-plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.

For more information, please contact: OMA Media Relations media@oma.org or 647-962-1387.