'Never let our guard down going forward': Ontario's new top doctor focused on recovery and preparation

Ontario's next chief medical officer of health says recovery and preparing for the next pandemic are among his major priorities as he prepares to take on the new role later this month.

On May 30, the Ontario Government confirmed that Dr. Kieran Moore will be Ontario's new top doctor, replacing Dr. David Williams.

Dr. Moore says he knows the fight isn’t over, but as the pandemic changes, so will Ontario’s response.

"The biggest challenge is still that this is an aggressive, nasty virus that wants to continue to spread, and it continues to mutate around the globe," he says. "It's my job that we have a system in place that holds everyone accountable for this type of preparedness on an annual basis. And we never let our guard down going forward."

Moore has had major success as the medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health, which has done much better than other cities in the province.

Many have hailed Moore’s quick action on things like closing Kingston beaches twice after crowds gathered earlier this year, shutting down major outbreaks on campus at Queen's University and at a nail salon, and opening up asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for thousands of restaurant workers at the first sign of a possible outbreak in the industry.

For years, Moore has been teaching Queen’s University students mock-up pandemics. Moore plans to bring his background in emergency preparedness to the role and implement that approach provincewide.

"I want to set up an office within the chief medical officer of health office that just prepares for emergencies and uses simulations to build up the skill sets and an ongoing basis and report to the legislature on an annual basis on the state of preparedness," said Dr. Moore.

In a much bigger role, with a lot more responsibility, he admits the task is large but says he’s focusing on the fact that he won’t be alone. Dr. Moore tells CTV News Ottawa he’s focused on the team, and learning lessons from COVID-19 as the economy reopens.

"It will remain a threat, we'll have to just keep vigilant as we try to reopen our economy, reopen and recover from this virus."