Ontario and Quebec were among the Canadian provinces going ahead with plans to ease COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, despite concerns about their capacity for testing and tracking the spread of the virus, a media report said.
Health officials in Ontario on Saturday released data showing the province has added 412 cases, a number not as high as the 441 counted on Friday — the most on a single day since May 8 — but it’s still in line with an upward trend seen in the past week and a half, CBC Canada said in the news report.
Matthew Oughton, an infectious diseases expert and professor at McGill University, told CBC News: “We should be monitoring much more, even than what we currently are, and we should certainly have more capacity in our hospital system to absorb new cases than we do right now.
“If we are lucky and everything goes smoothly, everyone would be thrilled with that. But if things don’t go smoothly, we need to have surplus capacity, not already be at capacity in hospitals. That’s really a setting for potential problems.”
Earlier this week, the Quebec government began allowing people to gather outdoors in groups of up to 10, from a maximum of three households.
There were 646 new cases of COVID-19 in the province on Friday and 65 more deaths.
Ontario, meanwhile, entered Stage 1 of its framework to reopen the economy on May 19, giving the green light for retail stores outside of shopping malls with street entrances to reopen with physical distancing measures, the CBC News report said.
Golf courses, marinas and private parks were also allowed to reopen.
As of Saturday, labs across Canada have tested 1,429,000 people for COVID-19, with about 5 per cent of these testing positive, according to Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.
Currently, Canada has 83,621 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 6,447 deaths.