Ontario Premier Doug Ford is calling for a dramatic increase in COVID-19 testing of Ontarians.
In his daily address, Ford called the number of tests currently being conducted in the province “unacceptable.”
“My patience has run thin, no more excuses,” said a clearly irritated Ford. “Moving forward, we need to see 13,000 tests every single day.”
Ford says he wants to see every long-term care resident, every front-line health-care worker and every first responder tested.
“We need to start testing everyone possible,” he said. “There’s no more excuses. We need to get it done. Bottom line.”
Ford’s call comes after critics expressed frustration with the fact that the number of tests being processed is far below the announced capacity at labs.
Ontario’s testing rate is among the lowest per capita of any province in the country.
Ontario reported 550 new cases on Wednesday – the largest single-day jump since the province began reporting total confirmed cases. However, only 3,200 tests were reported as completed in the last 24 hours even though labs can accommodate 13,000 tests.
“We’re going to ramp it up, we’re going to surge the system,” said Ford.
When asked if anyone would be held accoutable for the lack of testing, Ford said his frustration is not with the people in the health-care system but rather the testing regimen currently being employed.
“I could give you every excuse in the book why it wasn’t happening… I don’t believe in excuses. Let’s come up with solution, not excuses,” he said.
“The buck stops here. I’m accountable and I have no problem being held accountable. But we’re going to make sure that these tests are done.”
Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams says they would be expanding the criteria for those being tested in order to bring up those numbers to the current capacity of 13,000 tests in 24 hours.
When asked about the criticism from Ford earlier in the day, Dr. Williams said, “It’s nice when you are on the same direction on the premier and he’s driving for it… we need that kind of support from our leaders … I would say it was more a captain saying I want this, you want this, so let’s go.”
Ford said the other issue he was “zoned in on” was the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While he praised the work done by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in procurring these items, he says more work in that area still needs to be done.
“We need our 40 per cent. We’re 40 per cent of the population, that’s what we need.”
The premier also reiterated the need for city dwellers to avoid the temptation to go up to cottage country this weekend or for as long as the pandemic lasts.
“Please, this long weekend, do not go to your cottage. We can’t stress it enough.”
Watch the premier’s full press briefing below