The Ontario Medical Association OMA) says the province is not ready to lift the stay-at-home order.

OMA cited a daily COVID-19 case rate of about 2,000, around 1,800 patients in hospital and 800 of them needing intensive care as the reason why.

“We all want the third wave to be the last wave,” said OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill. 

Extending the stay-at-home order significantly increases the chance of a less restrictive summer and “more normal” fall for Ontarians Hill said.

How long the lockdown needs to be extended depends on many factors, she said, including how many people are vaccinated and when. 

But the OMA says that decision should be based on evidence and advice from the province’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

Even when we do start to reopen safely, the association says it will take weeks, and in some cases, months, for some of those numbers to fall significantly.

In the meantime, the OMA said doctors prescribe reopening more outdoor recreational facilities like golf courses to improve people’s physical and mental health. 

This needs to be done safely, the OMA says, with clear guidelines around when to wear masks and how many people can gather to avoid large COVID-19 spreading events on the May 24 long weekend.