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Ontario Premier Doug Ford identified that COVID-19 in the province is “concentrated” in the GTHA, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, and “everything is on the table” to address the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
“We have to bend the trend here because the trend just continues to grow, no matter what we’re doing,” Ford said at a press conference on Thursday.
The premier’s comments come after the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) released a statement calling for the provincial government to implement a four-week lockdown in public health units with a COVID-19 infection rate of 40 cases per 100,000 population or higher.
“I appreciate their input,” Ford said. “It’s very, very concerning, the situation we’re facing.”
“Everything’s on the table, we always take the advice from the medical experts.”
The premier went on to explain that if the province was to move forward with additional lockdown measures, with Toronto and Peel Region’s lockdown to come to an end on Monday, considerations need to be made about education, ensuring daycare services are available, making sure there are hotels available for people to self-isolate and more supports for businesses. Ford added health care system capacity is also important, putting forward the possibility of “interim hospitals” as an alternative.
Ford said these discussions continue to be ongoing.
“The worst thing we can do is rush out there and make a snap decision in a heartbeat,” he said. “We have to make sure if we do make this decision, is it going to be two weeks? Is it going to be three weeks? Is it going to be 28 days? “
“I will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to slow down this trend that we see.”
Ford’s comments come as the province announced an investment of $1.9 billion annually by 2024-2025 to create more than 27,000 new positions for personal support workers, registered nurses and registered practical nurses in long-term care.
The provincial government is also promising an increase hours of daily direct care to an average to four hours per day for each long-term care resident.