Doug Ford says the province will have a plan for random mass COVID-19 testing by next week
Ontario has been majorly slipping when it comes to COVID-19 testing in recent days, and Premier Doug Ford has had enough.
Speaking at the daily press briefing at Queen's Park on Thursday, Ford said he wants to see a major increase in testing and has asked staff to come up with a plan for random, mass testing throughout the province by next week.
"We can't just be testing people with symptoms. We have to start going to the broader public and start testing as many people as possible — asymptomatic people," he said.
"Until we do that, we can’t get our hands around the whole system."
The failing is in our Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health not being as “obsessed” with testing as much as Ford claims he is. Everyone in this province knows we have been behind in adequate testing for months now. Where and what is the hold up?! https://t.co/ndiSKWOxzg— Paul Mason (@PaulMason2) May 21, 2020
Ford has been calling for testing to be ramped up in the province for weeks now, but the latest push comes after daily testing numbers slipped dramatically this week with just 5,813 tests completed Monday, 7,382 Tuesday and 10,506 Wednesday — all of which are a far cry from Ontario's 16,00o test per day benchmark.
And as testing numbers have fallen, case numbers have risen — marking a disturbing trend as the province entered the first stage of reopening the economy this week.
Given that we are not even testing as much as targeted, Ontario's new-cases line is very much moving in the wrong direction. pic.twitter.com/Kp9UojWxZK— Prof. Tricia Wood (@pkbwood) May 21, 2020
That's why Ford said he wants to see random testing, and fast.
He said he hopes to see Ontario truckers, taxi drivers, automotive sector workers as well as those who work in food processing plants all tested in the coming weeks.
He also said all teachers should be tested before returning to school, and that long-term care home staff and frontline healthcare workers should also be tested again.
It is the Province of Ontario that is responsible for testing. Public Health Ontario oversees the lab system and the Ministry of Health sets the guidelines and criteria for who gets tested. If they want to test more, they can.— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) May 21, 2020
"I do have confidence in Ontario health and with the public health," he said. "To tell you I'm pushing them is an understatement and we’ll get there."
Ford also said he wants to see mobile testing vans going around to different areas that have seen an abundance of cases.
"I'm obsessed with this testing," Ford said. "As you can tell, I'm a little wound up today because I want to see the testing, simple. Let's see what happens next week and let's start getting out there and testing everyone possible. That's the only way we can get our hands around this."
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