Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Kieran Moore, announced the end of five-day quarantine requirements on Wednesday, and criticism is already mounting over the decision to move away from the previous health strategy to a new “all-virus” approach.
While this new direction may seem broader with general terminology like “fall respiratory illness season,” medical experts warn it peels away remaining health safeguards that could prove catastrophic when this season arrives.
These updated guidelines — now also applying to other illnesses like influenza — most notably include the end of five-day quarantine restrictions, but also suggest the use of a mask in public for 10 days after the onset of symptoms, staying home if you have a fever, and other means of limiting infection.
Backlash to the announcement came almost immediately, and many doctors, nurses, scientists, and other health professionals are speaking out against the policy change, warning that the health care system is already spread impossibly thin as emergency departments struggle to operate.
In an absolute DISASTER of a press conference Kieran Moore, Ontario’s CMOH:
– Doesn’t recommend boosters for those aged 18-59
– Says kids testing positive, with improving COVID symptoms, can return to school
– Says PCR testing is catching 33% of all cases
THIS IS NOT SCIENCE.
— Ryan Imgrund (@imgrund) August 31, 2022
Toronto-area emergency room doctor Steve Flindall is one of many vocal opponents of the policy shift, calling out the province’s top doc with an admission of defeat.
“Ok, Kieran Moore, I give up. You win. The tools I have to try to keep people safe are far outnumbered by yours to put people in jeopardy. Even with our EDs teetering on collapse, you’ve taken an approach that will, undoubtedly, lead to more ED visits, sick patients and staff absences due to illness or ill family. Congratulations on your victory.”
Keiran Moore should be ashamed to call himself a doctor, never mind a public health official. No more mandatory isolation and masks aren’t required. Good luck staying safe people. It’s almost like they want a new variant. I am flabbergasted. https://t.co/BjpZ6FH912
— Cathleen Crudden 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦 (@cathleencrudden) August 31, 2022
One nurse sarcastically thanked Moore for his latest policy blunder.
THANKS, KEIRAN MOORE https://t.co/iOIdzQyJXC
— HeyNurseKat (@HeyNurseKat) September 1, 2022
Pharmacists are among the many branches of health professionals uncomfortable with the elimination of five-day quarantine protocols in place of the new 24-hour (after symptoms clear up) rule, forcing one to set their own standard based on commonly-accepted scientific data.
To protect my staff, our families and our patients, despite this ridiculousness from the CMOH, at @KristenPharmacy, any staff who test positive will be paid to stay off until they have two negative RAT, 24h apart starting on day 5 (not a new policy).
If you won’t lead, I will.
— Kristen Watt RPh (@PharmacistMama) September 1, 2022
Moore was called “a puppet in the pocket of Ford” by one medical researcher, suggesting that the new strategy was politically motivated.
Meanwhile, wastewater data and other indicators like intensive care admissions suggest another uptick in case counts, well before this so-called fall respiratory illness season begins.