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TORONTO – Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, made new recommendations to the Ford government today that included better utilizing labs to boost Ontario’s testing capabilities, expanding the eligibility of Ontarians to be tested for COVID-19 and creating protocols to reuse PPE in the event of a shortage.
“I’m pleased that the Premier will release modeling and projections to Ontarians today. But I would ask the following:
When was the modeling first made available, and specifically, what did it show prior to the original list of essential business being released?
Will the Premier now shorten the list of essential businesses to protect the health and safety of Ontarians, especially in sectors like truly non-essential construction? as I have called upon him to do since the essential services list was released.
Will the Premier provide daily public updates of the modeling?”
“Ultimately, I hope the Premier took appropriate action when he first saw the modeling and projections for Ontario. The people of Ontario deserve to know.”
Del Duca’s recommendations include:
- Better coordination of community health labs so that they are not underused. Ontario’s overall testing capacity would increase if the tests are spread out to take advantage of each lab’s capacity.
- Following the lead of jurisdictions like South Korea and expanding testing criteria to include non-symptomatic but high-risk individuals. Priority should go to testing patients with Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) symptoms. Once capacity is increased in the province asymptomatic patients should be screened if they are asked to self-isolate.
- Committing to full and transparent reporting of relevant data in real-time. Data should be drawn from the critical care information system provided by critical care services in Ontario. The most important information is not the amount of new cases. We need to know the number of patients in critical care who have COVID-19 or are presumed to have COVID-19.
- Working alongside Ontario’s nurses, doctors, and PSWs, creating standards and protocols for the reuse and sterilization of personal protective equipment (PPE). We must look at the science behind reusing equipment as supply chains are being massively disrupted. It’s important to have protocols and standards developed now for this worst-case scenario. We should not wait until a facility runs out of PPE to provide guidance. Every effort must be made to ensure a continuous supply of PPE to all healthcare workers.
“Despite the best efforts of officials at all levels sometimes it feels as though Ontario is playing catch-up. I hope the Premier will accept our recommendations and take bold action to continue to protect the health and safety of Ontarians.”
“Last week I asked that non-essential construction projects be put on hold. I think it is now more important than ever to put a pause on all work that is not truly essential – we must protect workers and their families – nothing is more important than the health of Ontarians,” concluded Del Duca.