Local medical offer of health recommending caution as Queen’s Park discusses accelerating reopening plan

Dr. Charles Gardner recommending two incubation periods to gauge effects of step one

Word has it, Queen’s Park is actively discussing whether to accelerate the Roadmap to Reopen, bringing the province into step two earlier than usual. However, Simcoe-Muskoka’s medical officer of health says a cautious approach is best.


Dr. Charles Gardner of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) told reporters on Wednesday it would be best to wait until we see the effects of going into step one before we take that second step. “The reason being, an incubation period for COVID-19 is 14 days. Ideally, you typically go with two incubation periods,” said Gardner. “So, two incubation periods, you’d be at 28 days in order to see any kind of surge that might arise from the changes that happened with the beginning of step one.”

The province set its second step to come into effect 21 days after taking the first. Gardner says that time has to be used wisely. “You really need to be able to watch and make sure that we aren’t beginning to lose control of things. And you still have Delta to manage as well, which is 50 per cent more transmissible. We are seeing, in the United Kingdom now, a rise in transmission related to Delta. So, we do need to be cautious.”

While Gardner is pushing for a more cautious approach to the reopening of the province, he does say the SMDHU has discussed scaling back public COVID-19 updates. “We are looking at reducing the frequency of these and looking to the potential for it perhaps (to end) at the end of the summer, is the way that we’re thinking now, “he said. “But of course, that will all depend on what actually happens.”

On Thursday, the province announced 370 new cases of COVID-19, bringing Ontario’s seven-day rolling average down to 443. A month ago, the weekly average exceeded 2,100.