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Ontario lifts 5-day isolation rule in time for new school year, yet experts warn of 8th COVID wave

Teachers check students for COVID-19 before a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas in 2020.
LM Otero
AP Photo
Teachers check students for COVID-19 before a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas in 2020.

As children head back to school, Ontario has lifted the mandatory 5-day isolation rule for people with COVID-19. However, at least one infectious disease expert is predicting a massive eighth wave of the virus.

The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said last week that people who don’t feel well should isolate themselves while they show symptoms and return to work or school about 24 hours after those symptoms end.

Still, it’s a major shift in COVID-19 pandemic policy for those who test positive. Moore, speaking at a news conference, said people still testing positive can return to work or school,

“With the additional precautions and we’ll have the improvement in ventilation in the school environment in particular,” he said. “We’ll have the improvement in the environmental cleaning, hand hygiene in all classrooms with the addition of wearing a mask continually for ten full days.’

However, Moore said it will not be mandatory to wear that mask.

He also said people who test positive on a rapid PCR test but are no longer symptomatic can go out in public, adding that they should take extra precautions and should wear a mask if they are ill.

But Dr. Dick Zoutman, the former chief of staff of the Scarborough Health Network, said the new policy is not a good move....

“We should be testing in the schools, we should be testing at workplaces,” he said. “In my opinion, we should be wearing masks in all indoor spaces continuously because this virus is just crazy infectious and it causes a lot of harm and this policy is just closing our eyes and hoping it’s all going to be OK.”

Zoutman and other experts agree there is an eighth wave of covid 19 coming, and some say they can’t understand the province’s decision.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.