Interview With Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Province To Expand COVID-19 Testing

Ontario is reporting 412 new cases of COVID-19 today, which is a 1.7 per cent increase in the total number of cases for the province.

Ministry of Health figures released Friday showed 11,276 samples were processed Thursday, nearly 9,000 below the ability of provincial government, hospital and commercial labs to provide results on more than 20,000 daily.

Just over 11,000 additional tests have been conducted - again below the province's testing capacity of 21,000 per day - bringing the total number completed in the province to just shy of 600,000.

Ford also says that Ontario will be rolling out an advertising campaign encouraging people to get tested, particularly in areas with higher concentrations of COVID-19 cases.

As criticism mounts about the number of tests being done in Ontario, Ford appealed to anyone with symptoms on Friday to visit a COVID-19 assessment centre.

"We are very grateful for the generous support of the Ontario government", said Guled Warsame, president of UNITE HERE Local 75.

Ontario has 961 patients (down by 23) hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 153 patients in an intensive care unit (down by two) and 120 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (up by three).

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 1,486 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is up by 34 deaths, and there are 171 current outbreaks.

When asked is business should have the right to refuse service to patrons who refuse to wear a face mask, Ford said that "Any business has the right to refuse anyone, that's their business, I highly encourage people to put on a face just protects everyone. that's the advice from our chief medical just wear a face shield when you can". "Then we're going to go into communities where there's, as I say, the hot spots, and it's really the urban centres around Toronto that we've seen".

A total of 1,993 people have died from coronavirus in Ontario, and there are 5,051 cases now under investigation.

Provincial health officials also reported that there were no new outbreaks in long-term care homes.

Health officials say most people in the region have been observant about the new restrictions that have come with the novel coronavirus.

"Am I frustrated? Yes, I'm frustrated, but I have confidence in the team", Ford said at his daily news conference held on Thursday afternoon at Queen's Park. We know that people are at the heart of the hospitality industry.

Ahmed said people being tested will need to have their health card and another form of identification to ensure the health unit can reach out if a person tests positive.

The Premier says he doesn't think people will give him trouble now that they've had a taste of freedom.

He also couldn't offer an exact date on when the Province might lift measures on social gatherings.

Friday was the sixth straight day that the province has failed to meet its 16,000 test target.

At this time, 508 cases have reportedly resulted in a recovery. A total of 216 cases did not specify male or female.

This marks a slight increase in new cases compared to Wednesday's 390, but is lower than the spike seen with Tuesday's 427.



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