Dr. Nathanson: Unvaccinated individuals are 'dry kindling to a nearby and growing fire'

Stevenson Memorial Hospital's chief of staff says he's concerned hospitals will be overwhelmed once again as COVID-19 cases increase across the province and not enough people are getting vaccinated.

Dr. Barry Nathanson says health-care workers report a slow climb in admissions to intensive care units.

"As these numbers rise, the stress rises," Nathanson says.

The critical care physician says with the Delta variant dominating cases, the situation could escalate quickly.

"In a matter of weeks, the landscape can change dramatically," Nathanson says.

He points to vaccination rates and those reluctant or unable to get their double-dose.

"We still have approximately 25 per cent of Ontarians unvaccinated and, therefore, representing dry kindling to a nearby and growing fire."

Nathanson mentions the province's science table's modelling for the fall, which suggests another lockdown could be "unavoidable."

"The next few months are going to be key for us to see where we're going to end up," he adds.

Nathanson says the pandemic could become "more manageable" by limiting contacts and following health measures.

"We're already in the middle of a fourth wave, but we can have a huge impact on what that looks like inside hospitals and outside hospitals."

The Alliston doctor says reaching 90 per cent vaccination in Ontario will take changing the way society thinks.

"I think we'll get there. We do have to keep pushing," Nathanson says. "Vaccine certificates will have a role in that."

Nathanson believes misinformation is guiding eligible residents who are hesitant or unwilling to roll up their sleeves for the needle.

"The truth is that reluctance, when it's overcome it will pay off with a huge relief that comes with protection, safety and security of vaccination and increased opening of our society," he says.

Nathanson concludes with a plea for those who remain unvaccinated.

"Listen to the facts, listen to the studies, and the overwhelming real-world experience that we have with vaccinations and roll up your sleeve and get jabbed for Ontario and for Canada."

With files from CTV's Kraig Krause