In his daily provincial address, Premier Doug Ford said there is consideration for a region-based reopening strategy for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This option has been one that Ford has refused in the past.
When addressing this option to the media, Ford said that “everything is on the table”.
“It’s an option that we are looking at. I know other jurisdictions have done this. I want to know how this has gone in other areas, what lessons we can learn”.
Ford went on to say that Ontario’s newly released and expanded testing guidelines will assist in creating a better understanding of trends and hot spots for public health officials.
Ford previously disagreed with this reopening strategy that was proposed by the smaller regions in Ontario due to the fear that those located in COVID-19 hotspots would go to the open parts of the province.
The premier has gone on to say that the final decision for this matter will be decided under the advice of public health officials.
The chief medical officer of Ontario, Dr. David Williams, has said that this regional reopening strategy brings challenges for informing the public and how to safely depict the risks of entering these regions.
The expanded testing strategy
This morning, a revision to the testing plan was detailed by public health officials at a technical briefing for the media. The revisions align closely with the ones Ford has been hinting towards for several weeks.
The strategy includes a directive that states anyone concerned that they may have the virus cannot be refused for a test at any of the assessment centres located in the province.
The strategy also entails a targeted testing campaign for individuals working in key sectors identified by the province.
Those who work in agriculture, auto, and retail industries will be targeted for testing, and health officials are working with employers to make sure those targets are met within the coming weeks.
Mobile testing units – such as buses or vans – that are equipped with supplies and are staffed with health-care workers are potentially going to be used to test individuals living in communities hit hard by the virus.
The revised strategy did not change the target for the number of tests desired by the province, as Ontario’s officials find that the situation is too uncertain to create an accurate benchmark for tests.
Ontario has failed to meet the targets set for testing this month due to a series of complications caused by the Victoria Day long weekend and the long-term care staff and residents having their tests completed during that time.
Public health officials have gone on to say that testing in the general public will begin to ramp up as restrictions begin to loosen in the province.
Ontario COVID-19 stats
Confirmed cases: 27,210