Ontario "moving in the right direction" as province increases daily lab testing: Ford

May 4 2020, 10:35 am

Premier Doug Ford said that Ontario is “moving in the right direction” as lab testing for COVID-19 cases exceeds the 16,000 daily target.

On Monday, Ford said “we are moving in the right direction and we have to keep going” and that lab testing in the province exceeded the May 6 goal of 16,000 tests being done daily. As of May 4, Ford said there were over 17,000 tests done per day.

To date, 342,000 tests have been conducted in Ontario.

“We’ve been working around the clock to establish a vast and robust testing regime, which is critical in our fight against this deadly virus,” Ford said.

“We’re now exceeding our target of 16,000 tests a day, with many of those tests aimed at protecting our long-term care residents and staff. This important milestone provides a strong foundation for gradually reopening our economy and getting people back to work, while protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians.”

Ford said as key trends in the cases head in the right direction it gives him the “confidence that we can head back to opening up the economy soon.”

The premier specifically mentioned opening parks and offering curbside pick up for retail stores.

But Ford said the province will not “rest on our laurels” and will ensure that they are focused on testing the most vulnerable, such as long-term care homes, homeless shelters, and women’s shelters.

According to Minister of Health Christine Elliot, testing has been ramped up in these vulnerable with the province-wide testing network consists of more than 20 organizations and eliminated the backlog of 11,000 tests.

All staff and resident members in long-term care settings must now be tested, Elliot said.

Ontario has also helped expand the capacity of public health units to conduct contact tracing and case management. Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 provided $100 million in additional investments for public health units to support coronavirus monitoring and testing, including funding to support enhanced contact tracing.

The funding enables public health units to hire more personnel.

On Monday, select seasonal businesses in Ontario were allowed to open up including garden centres with curbside pick-up and delivery, lawn centres and landscaping, expanded essential construction projects, self-serve car washes, and auto dealerships by appointment only.

Golf courses can also prepare for the upcoming season and marinas can service their boats and other watercraft, but both are not yet open to the public.