Lambton MOH: Latest restrictions will make little difference to reduce spread

Lambton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade at a mass vaccination clinic. (Photo by Lambton Public Health)

Lambton’s top doctor says the latest round of restrictions announced on Monday by the province, will do little to stop the spread of Omicron.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade told Sue Storr on CHOK (103.9FM/1070AM) Tuesday that cases are expected to peak by the end of January.

He said it’s important to remember that he doesn’t have the lens on the whole provincial health care system that the government does.

“So that’s the argument that’s being made right now is that the whole provincial health system is in crisis and therefore this needs to be done,” he said. “But in terms of this intervention, I would say if it was going to work it needed to be done in early December, it needed to be very severe and it needed to actually prevent most people from gathering at Christmas. Since we didn’t do any of those things, the chances of this making a major dent, I would say in time, are very low.”

Dr. Ranade said over the past two weeks we’ve seen record breaking numbers of new cases, and numbers are starting to get so high they’re essentially meaningless.

“We’ve always been saying for every case that we know, there’s a handful of cases that we don’t know, either someone has mild symptoms or they don’t get tested or whatever,” said Dr. Ranade. “And if you think about there being four or five cases for every case that we actually detect, then where you’re talking about 18,000 or 20,000 cases a day in Ontario, you’re really talking about 100,000 cases a day in Ontario.

“So forget about the number of cases, I’ve always said you shouldn’t necessarily use that as a proxy for your level of risk, it’s not reliable. Omicron is everywhere and the situation has changed so much, and we need to stop thinking about Omicron as a preventable risk or an avoidable risk and we need to start thinking about it as an inevitable risk.”

He said because of the transmissibility of Omicron, it is very likely that most people will get it at some point. He said the focus is on reducing severe disease and hospitalizations through vaccination.

As of Tuesday, there have been no lab-confirmed cases of the newest variant in Sarnia-Lambton, however, Dr. Ranade said it’s very safe to assume there are many cases in the community.