Ford says new COVID-19 measures for hotspots will "have to be tough"

Nov 19 2020, 6:59 pm

Premier Doug Ford said that the new COVID-19 measures for hotspots, which are set to be announced tomorrow, “will have to be tough.”

During a press conference on Thursday, Ford said they must “avoid the worst-case scenario” as cases continue to remain high.

“We’ll do whatever it takes. Tomorrow we’ll release further public health restrictions, and as it’s looking, these measures will have to be tough in our hardest-hit areas.”

The premier added that there are “concerning trends” with hospital and ICU capacity, and the virus continues to pose a prominent risk at long-term care homes.

“There’s been difficult but some necessary decisions to make. The people of Ontario need to listen, especially as the holidays are approaching.”

But Ford said the numbers could come down before the holidays if people strictly follow public health advice.

“I take the recommendations from Dr. Williams. I’ll be 100% upfront. I don’t have the recommendations at this moment, but that will come to cabinet, and then we’ll take it from there,” he said.

When asked about the ICU threshold officially being met with 150 patients, Ford said that backlog surgeries would continue and that they have added surge capacity with more ICU and acute care beds.

It was also noted that there would be business support for those that might have to close with the new measures. The premier said they would cover all fixed overhead costs with hydro, rent, payroll and propriety taxes.

And when asked about schools closing in Toronto, which has a positivity rate of over 6% — in New York, schools have closed with the region seeing a positivity rate of 3% — Ford responded that the “safest place for our children right now is in the schools.”

On Wednesday, during a press conference, Ford said, “We continue to see troubling numbers in Peel, Toronto, and York Region. It’s spreading at alarming rates in these areas.”

He added that the situation “is extremely serious” and that the province is “staring down the barrel of another lockdown.”

Ontario daily case counts have been above 1,000 for the last 14 days.

There are a total of 99,372 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province reported to date.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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