COVID-19: Partially vaccinated people can socialize outdoors this summer: Tam; Ontario reports 2,584 new cases
The seven-day average for new cases is down but intensive care unit admissions are up
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Small outdoor gatherings possible this summer if vaccine targets are met: Tam
3 pm If COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, at least 75 per cent of eligible adults get a first vaccine dose and 20 per cent are fully immunized, some restrictions could lift this summer, federal public health officials said on Friday.
At a news conference, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam began laying out a framework for reopening, including a timeline for when people can start gathering indoors again.
She said Canada has administered over 17 million vaccines and the seven-day moving average for daily new cases fell below 7,000 for the first time. While hospitalizations are falling, less than 1,400 people are in intensive care units and the average daily death toll is 48 deaths, the numbers are still too high to lift restrictions.
However, she said Canada is on course to hit the 75 per cent/20 per cent vaccination targets, which would see infections rates drop to a more manageable level and allow some restrictions to lift during the summer months.
“In very general terms, this means we’ll be able to get back to small outdoor gatherings with family and friends,” Tam said on Friday. “Camping, outdoors sports and small reunions at picnics, parks and patios will begin to bring us together in-person again. We will still have to follow local public health advice and keep up with individual measures like physical distancing and wearing a mask as recommended.”
She added that once more Canadians are fully vaccinated in the fall, indoor gatherings can happen again.
“This would mean getting back to indoor work, in-person learning at colleges and universities and recreational activities as well as finally being able to get back to the in-person, multi-household celebrations and holidays we’ve longed for,” she said.
Ontario reports 2,584 new COVID-19 cases, 24 deaths
11:15 am Ontario reported 2,584 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths on May 15.
While daily new cases are on a downward trend, intensive care unit admissions are remaining high and the virus has killed nearly 200 people in the past week.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 2,362 cases on Friday, 2,759 new cases on Thursday, 2,320 on Wednesday and 2,073 on Tuesday. The seven-day average for new cases dropped to 2,576, down from 3,193 a week ago.
The Greater Toronto Area continues to lead the province in new infections, but Toronto’s new cases are below 700 today.
“Locally, there are 689 new cases in Toronto, 584 in Peel, 252 in York Region, 157 in Durham and 115 in Hamilton,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
The number of patients hospital dropped by 36 to 1,546. However, intensive care units are up by eight to 785. Of those people, 560 – or over 71 per cent – are breathing with the help of a ventilator.
The province recorded 3,063 recoveries in the past day, bringing the total number of confirmed active COVID-19 cases in Ontario to 27,566. With another 194 deaths in the past week, the provincial death toll has risen to 8,455.
Labs in the province completed 42,320 tests in the past day, making for a positivity rate of 6.2 per cent, which is up slightly from 6.1 yesterday but down from 6.8 per cent last Saturday.
As of 8 pm last night, the province had administered 6,925,232 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Ministry of Health.
New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on May 15
The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:
Toronto = 689
Peel Region = 584
York Region = 252
Durham Region = 157
Hamilton = 115
Ottawa = 108
Halton Region = 91
Region of Waterloo = 78
Middlesex-London = 71
Niagara Region = 70
Simcoe Muskoka = 68
Windsor-Essex = 51
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 36
Porcupine = 25
Eastern Ontario = 22
Huron Perth = 21
Brant County = 19
Peterborough = 17
Lambton = 17
Haldimand-Norfolk = 16
Grey Bruce = 13
Southwestern = 12
Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington = 9
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark = 9
Northwestern = 7
Sudbury & Districts = 7
Thunder Bay = 5
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge = 5