Doctors' group calls for stricter COVID-19 measures as Ontario sees 1,575 new cases

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A group representing tens of thousands of Ontario physicians is calling for the government to lower the thresholds for imposing stricter COVID-19 measures, as the province reports another record tally of new daily infections.

The Ontario Medical Association says the tiered and colour-coded framework that determines when regions across the province can loosen or tighten restrictions is too lax, particularly at a time when case counts are surging.

It says the criteria to move from one alert level to the other should be much lower - as much as 50 per cent lower in some cases - and the higher levels should include a ban on indoor dining in restaurants and bars.

The group's comments come on the heels of a Toronto Star report that said the provincial government ignored the advice of its own public health agency in designing the system introduced last week.

The newspaper reports that while Health Minister Christine Elliott said the framework was created after consulting with two health-care advisory groups, one group said it wasn't consulted and a member of the other said she never saw the final plan before its release.

A spokeswoman for Elliott said public health experts such as Ontario's chief medical officer of health and the public health measures table ``provided input on the overall concept and direction for the framework.''