doug ford announcement

Doug Ford cautions that the pandemic is far from over in Ontario

Life has been feeling a bit more "normal" for a lot of us since Ontario entered Step 3 of reopening last month, but Premier Doug Ford made clear this morning that the province still has a long way to go before COVID-19 is a worry of the past.

"As I stand here, we have over 19.95 million shots delivered, with a vaccine effort that is among the most successful of anywhere in the world," said Ford during a virtual keynote speech at the 2021 Association of Ontario Municipalities conference on Monday.

"But the reality remains, despite all our incredible progress, we are not done with COVID yet."

"This is a virus that will exploit any opportunity, any weakness in the system, to mutate and become even more lethal. You only need to look south to see what can happen if we let our guards down and how quickly a variant can devastate an unvaccinated population," continued the premier.

"Covid will be something we live with for a while longer. We must always stay prepared."

During his speech, Ford praised conference delegates and regular Ontarians alike for their sacrifices, stating that "nothing fills me with more pride than seeing how this province responded when called upon. We saw the best of the Ontario spirit, undaunted, unwavering, unbreakable."

He also detailed a number of investments that his government is making to better fortify Ontario against the coronavirus and all future public health crises, including the hiring of 27,000 new nurses and personal support workers as well as significant affordable housing and hospital upgrades across the province.

If the emergence of a fourth wave and fast-rising daily case counts are any indication, investments like these will be put to good use.

As of Monday morning, 81.5 per cent of eligible Ontarians over the age of 12 had recieved one dose a Health Canada-approved COVID vaccine, and 73.5 per cent now have two doses.

And yet, while once rising at a clip, these numbers have slowed to a crawl provincewide in recent weeks, prompting officials to plead with all unvaxxed residents to get their shots ASAP.

"Vaccinations ensure that people who do get infected can avoid the worst-case scenarios. They ensure that we can protect our hospitals from being overrun and threatening the entire healthcare system," said Ford on Monday.

"And so, I encourage everyone to do their part, get your shots and ensure you have the most protection possible, for yourselves and for others."

Lead photo by

Doug Ford

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