Premier wants Ontario to be a global leader on COVID-19 research

Henrietta Brewer
May 22, 2020

Doug Ford says he's "wound up" about COVID-19 testing capacity across Ontario and he told reporters during a livestream today that daycare staff and teachers are among those included in the province's plans for testing as daycares resume in Stage 2 and school resumes in the fall.

Provincial health officials confirmed 413 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 31 more deaths on Thursday morning, bringing the total number of patients in Ontario to 24,187, including 1,993 deaths and 18,509 recoveries.

According to Peel's website, 197 COVID-19 patients have had to be hospitalized.

Should smaller towns be able to reopen before Toronto?

But despite the lack of a prohibition of entering someone else's home, Williams has still not moved forward with official guidelines around household-to-household contact, known as bubbles, that have been introduced in other provinces like Nova Scotia.

"I am fully prepared to take every action necessary, if we see things going in the wrong direction, we will be fully prepared, we won't hesitate to roll things back if necessary, and I'm hopeful we won't go there, but we need to be ready for all possible scenarios, that is why it is more important than ever that we stay vigilant".

The numbers of people in hospital, in intensive care and on ventilators with COVID-19 all declined in the past day.

Ontario has turned to its research community for weapons against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Ontario's testing fails to meet even its own modest goals, Ford vowed he's being like an "800-lb gorilla" on the backs of public health officials to increase COVID-19 testing.

And he said the province will unveil a plan for random testing of the general population next week.

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said some public health units that see anywhere between zero and six cases a day have no difficulty following up with individuals to try to trace where they contracted COVID-19. "We need to be doing that testing frequently, perhaps weekly".

As of Thursday afternoon, Ontario reported 24,187 coronavirus cases and 1,993 total deaths. This is an increase from the 7,382 done on Wednesday and the 5,813 done on Tuesday.

The Ontario government is recommending people in the province wear a non-medical face covering when physical distancing is not possible, specifically calling out people taking public transit.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, reiterated Wednesday's messaging related to the use of non-medical masks as people "have more reason to be out and around" and it may be more hard to maintain a two-metre physical distance. I want to go into the automotive sector and start testing people right across the province. "We will reopen childcare with strict health protocols to keep our youngest learners safe".

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