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'Bunch of yahoos': Ford on anti-maskers sharing his phone number with contact tracers

Premier Doug Ford had some stern words after hearing reports Wednesday that members of an anti-mask group are sharing his cellphone number with COVID-19 contact tracers.

During an afternoon conference on the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, a journalist from the Niagara region asked Ford about reports that members of the group Hugs over Masks are using Ford’s name and sharing his phone number in an attempt to thwart contact tracing.

“It’s so disappointing,” Ford responded.

“They’re hurting their family members, they’re hurting all the great people pulling in the same direction.”

“Like really?” he added incredulously. “You really want to do this while everyone is working their back off? Have you ever walked through an ICU and seen someone struggling for their life on a ventilator?”

“Have you ever been to a long-term care facility when people are struggling and the personal support workers (PSWs) are out there working their backs off … and you guys wanna go out there acting like a bunch of yahoos?”

“Guys, give your heads a shake.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams also admonished people who give phony contact information, while stressing how important accurate contact tracing is.

“It’s more than disappointing that that kind of behaviour goes on,” Williams said. “If we do our contact tracing properly, if we push the curve down … we are looking forward to that day when you can go out and give hugs and you don’t have to wear masks, but the longer we prolong this, the more we have to do it.”

“We really need you to be serious about this,” he added. “The contact tracing is very vital and critical.”

Ontario is currently in a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a steady surge in cases over the last several weeks.

On Monday, Ontario saw a record high 700 new cases. There were 554 new cases reported on Wednesday.