Sudbury immunologist says region ready for Stage 3 if caution is taken
Large portion of Ontario to move into Stage 3 on Friday
As a large portion of Ontario is set to move into Stage 3 on Friday, a Sudbury immunologist says northern Ontario is ready if public health advice continues to be followed.
On Monday, the province announced a large part of Ontario will move into Stage 3 on July 17, with the exception of the Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario, which will remain in Stage 2 for now.
Stage 3 will allow for activities like indoor dining in restaurants, the reopening of movie theatres and playgrounds and an increase in outdoor and indoor gatherings. Gyms can also reopen but physical distancing must be maintained.
Alain Simard, a professor of immunology at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, says overall, Ontario is doing well when it comes to COVID-19 cases, especially compared to places like the United States.
"It's a very unfortunate situation where they essentially lost control due to probably most likely due to lack of good measures, such as people observing social distancing and wearing masks," he said.
"At this point [in the United States], it's completely out of control."
Several health units, including Public Health Sudbury & Districts and Algoma Public Health, have put policies in place mandating people wear masks in public places. Simard says that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
"So it shows we're trying to prevent any second wave or any newer outbreak," he said.
"I would say those responses are good."
As for knowing when it's the right time to move into the next stage, Simard says that can be a challenge.
"We don't have a crystal ball so we don't know what would have happened in our case if we had opened up quicker or slower," he said.
"As long as we continue observing some good practices and keep encouraging them, it's probably ok to keep opening up because we also have to think of our economy and our livelihoods as well."