Doug Ford denounces “unacceptable” level of COVID-19 tests as Ontario has 5,000 cases


Premier Doug Ford has lambasted the “unacceptable” number of daily COVID-19 tests in Ontario, with the province confirming 550 new virus cases and more than 200 deaths.

“What is unacceptable is the number of tests we do,” Ford said at a press conference on Wednesday. “My patience is running out. “

Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday that Ontario currently has the capacity to perform up to 13,000 tests per day, but that the province’s 100 specialized test centers have not submitted as many tests. swabs every day.

At first there weren’t enough assessment centers, then there weren’t enough laboratory capacity, then supplies of reagents – key for testing – were low, but these problems were resolved, said Ford.

Now, he said, the province must “take action.”

‘No more excuses’

“We need to start testing everyone possible,” said Ford, especially front-line health workers, including those working in hospitals and long-term care homes, as well as first responders, the police and paramedics.

Ford also said that all seniors in long-term care homes should be tested, as well as all vulnerable people in the province.

“We have to continue testing the public too, everything is now on deck,” added Ford. “There are no more excuses, we have to do it, in the end. “

The Prime Minister added that he will follow his team later today to ensure that a clear plan is in place to bring the daily tests to 13,000, but did not say if accountability measures could be in place. place if the tests did not pass.

Number of deaths in Ontario exceeds 200

The number of confirmed virus cases jumped 11.6% on Wednesday, bringing the provincial total to 5,276.

This is the largest single-day increase since the start of the epidemic.

The official count includes 174 deaths, although CBC News has compiled data from regional public health units in the province and has recorded at least 202 deaths related to COVID-19.

Some 1,102 people are awaiting test results.

Ministry of Health data shows that there were only 2,568 new test results provided on Tuesday. This is roughly half the daily goal of 5,000 the government promised to reach in late March, and well below the 19,000 tests per day promised for the third week of April.

The slower pace than promised continued on Wednesday, with Ontario announcing 3,237 new test results.

Testing capacity has increased significantly, health officials say

Public health officials acknowledged on Tuesday that the capacity of the laboratories had increased considerably and that the pressure was now on to have the community assessment centers allow more people to take the test.

“The capacity problem is not what it was – they should be tested,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s assistant chief medical officer of health, about the guidelines that restrict testing, even for some with symptoms of COVID-19.

“We are also considering more tests in establishments where there is an epidemic, more tests with health professionals, if necessary, in indigenous communities, etc., and there is a group of experts who will do report very soon on the test strategy. … We don’t want to go too far and end up with another backlog. ”

Ontario is now treating more than 5,000 cases of COVID-19. (Evan Mitsui / CBC)

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, said fewer tests appear to coincide with fewer people using the province’s telehealth service and its online assessment tool, which tells people ” they meet the criteria of the COVID-19 test.

“This may be evidence of a certain flattening,” he suggested, admitting that he preferred “to be optimistic” in thinking it might be due to fewer travelers and fewer people with symptoms.

“We are not trying to limit (test),” he said.

Williams warned that an overly broad test would produce “biased” data that skew too strongly toward negative results when the goal is to reflect the population as a whole.

He also said that the global demand for tests and laboratory supplies is still high, requiring continuous rationing, even if the criteria are expanded.

“Sometimes these things ebb and we could go into a new wave again. And if you compromise yourself – then you have used your reagent and your buffers and your supply – someone would ask again at that time the crucial need: why are you not more vigilant and careful in your use of these supplies? Said Williams.

Province Calls For 40% Of Federal 3M Mask Order

At a press conference on Wednesday, Ford also said he is more confident now than a few days ago about the province’s access to personal protective equipment.

He also said he expects Ontario to receive 40% of the federal government’s order for 500,000 3M masks.

Nearly 60 long-term care homes with COVID-19 outbreaks

Health officials are currently monitoring 58 COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the province.

Another resident of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario died, bringing the death toll to 28.

Mary Carr, the administrator, confirmed the most recent death to CBC News.

Meanwhile, the virus continues to rage severely in the hundreds.

The latest data shows that of the 605 people hospitalized:

  • 246 are in intensive care units.
  • 195 are under ventilators.

The Ministry of Health has also proposed the following breakdown of the total number of cases since January 15:

  • 46.1% of the cases are men, while 53.3% are women.
  • 36.4% of cases are people aged 60 and over.
  • Public health units in the Greater Toronto Area account for almost 52% of the cases.

Province Announces New Workplace Safety Measures

Ford also announced the implementation of improved workplace safety measures for critical businesses during the epidemic.

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labor for Ontario, said on Wednesday that the province can expect more safety inspections as well as more workers’ ability to voice their concerns.

He also said the province is hiring retired inspectors to address these concerns.

“Our government is working around the clock to support you,” said McNaughton to these jobs that are considered essential.

Essential construction projects extended to 24 hours a day

In the meantime, the province is also extending construction hours for essential health care construction projects to 24 hours a day.

These projects include the construction of hospital expansions, COVID-19 assessment centers and temporary structures in the midst of the pandemic.

Dealer offers recreational vehicles to hospital staff who cannot return home

The owner of several RV dealers in the Durham region offers dozens of RVs to hospital staff who cannot return home.

Although the dealerships are closed to the public, a small team has volunteered to stay and help front-line workers.

“We are doing this to help our first responders who need the means to get to work [and] at home, ”said Bob Verwey, president of the Owasco group in Durham, Ontario.

Verwey said the dealership had up to 70 recreational vehicles and trailers offered to hospitals in Oshawa and Ajax so doctors and nurses could live during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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