Frustrated Ford wants random and asymptomatic coronavirus testing in Ontario

Grant Boone
May 22, 2020

Ontario has been majorly slipping when it comes to COVID-19 testing in recent days, and Premier Doug Ford has had enough. "We will hit those numbers and I will be like an 800-pound gorilla on their backs every single day if I have to until I see these numbers go up".

Health Minister Christine Elliott said she has been assured that public health officials have more than met their goal to contact 90% of all new cases within 24 hours.

Four staff members in long-term care homes have died of the virus.

The province says 984 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, with 155 being treated in intensive care units.

Bauch and his collaborators, postdoctoral researcher Vadim Karatayev and professor Madhur Anand of the University of Guelph, modelled the impacts of public-health measures across 49 regions corresponding to major population centres in Ontario - in the model, they're all labelled "counties".

"We found that, because the epidemiology is quite different across the province, if an area that's less affected by the virus can maintain physical distancing and testing", Bauch says, "they can lift school and workplace closures with only a minimal rise in cases".

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That's why Ford said he wants to see random testing, and fast.

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said some public health units that see anywhere between zero and six cases a day have no difficulty following up with individuals to try to trace where they contracted COVID-19.

There have been a total of 24,628 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in ONtario, with 18,767 of those (76.2 per cent) reported as recovered. This phase of our testing strategy will help ensure we identify and contain new cases and allow us to closely monitor any shifts in community spread.

Ford said that over the last five days coronavirus cases have been increasing and testing numbers "haven't been there". We need to test them again. I can't. I'm pushing the table as hard as I can. "How do we know how many asymptomatic people are out there right now?" "We can't just be testing people with symptoms, we have to start going to the broader public and start testing as many people as possible, asymptotic people, and until we do that - and I'm not medical expert, I've said it a thousand times - but, until we do that we can't get our hands around the whole system".

The government says "Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August of this year with strict health and safety guidelines to be developed in partnership with local public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities. But if we keep testing and tracing and testing and tracing we're going to get it done".

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