Province's health experts disagree on Ford government's COVID-19 plan

COVID-19

It appears there's some disagreement among the province's health experts on their plan to control the spread of COVID-19.

A member of Public Health Ontario tells the Toronto Star the Ford government went against their advice in its framework for restrictions, released last week.

Dr. Shelley Deeks, the agency's chief health protection officer, says for the highest control measure before lockdown, known as the "red" or "control" zone, her group recommended a threshold of 25 cases per 100,000 people and a test positivity rate of 2.5 percent.

In the current plan, those thresholds are four times higher.

She claims she never saw the final plan until it was released to the public. She also admits that she only has to look at the situation from a disease control perspective and not one that includes the social and economic impacts.

Meanwhile, the co-chair of Ontario's Modelling Consensus Table says her group was never consulted, despite a claim to the contrary by Health Minister Christine Elliott on Friday.

Beate Sander tells the Star Elliott, "misspoke."

She agrees that the province's thresholds are high.

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health has spoken in favour of the province's current framework.

"This framework is critical to ensuring that public health measures are able to help slow the spread of the virus, while also supporting mental health and other social determinants of health," said Dr. David Williams.

A spokesperson for Minister Elliott provided NEWSTALK 1010 with the following statement:

"Public health experts such as the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health Measures Table and local medical officers of health provided input on the overall concept and direction for the framework.

The framework was also informed by data, evidence, and information, including from other jurisdictions, and approved by Cabinet.

As per the framework, local context and conditions are also critical to informing its implementation, including potential regional application of measures.

The framework presents an approach to applying public health and workplace safety measures in zones, including preventative measures at earlier zones to avoid closures in the first place."