During the daily provincial address, Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario government addressed the issues regarding the testing numbers in the province, as well as what steps they are taking to improve the situation.
For the past four days, the province’s testing numbers have lowered and have not reached the goal of 16,000 tests per day. Since Monday, they have only averaged around half of the desired amount.
Despite this, Premier Ford claims these low numbers are a result of the Victoria Day long weekend and moving forward he is “going to be all over this testing”.
“We’re going to ramp up testing like this province has never seen. Another three, four weeks, we’re going to do a lot of testing,” Ford said during his address.
No specific numbers were brought up by Ford or officials however, so the amount of testing in the near future is still unknown.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, has gone on to say that when it comes to testing, Ontario does have “the capacity to enhance it considerably”.
With restrictions being lifted slowly across the province, many experts say that ramping up the testing will be essential, but they also acknowledge that it will happen instantly.
Zain Chagla, an infectious disease expert at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, says that increasing the amount of testing and lab processing “isn’t as simple as it sounds,” as the testing criteria and eligibility restrictions make this task a difficult one.
“We’re talking in the orders of tens of millions of dollars to get that testing capacity up and running.”
“Groundbreaking” research projects
In addition to promising to increase testing across the province, Ford has announced that “groundbreaking” research projects to fight COVID-19 have been approved and are moving forward.
These research projects include clinical trials investigating vaccines and treatments.
Ford and Ross Romano, the Minister of Colleges and Universities, have gone on to say that the government is funding this “first phase” of research to treat the disease.
Ford went on to tell the media that these projects have “the potential to be a game-changer – not just for Ontario, but for Canada and the entire world”.
There are a total of 15 proposals that Ontario has accepted for funding, alongside 22 clinical trials that are investigating possible vaccines and treatments.
These submitted proposals were a response to Ontario’s $20 million COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. The research fund is looking for research related to vaccine development, drug trials, testings, and science development.
Ford has shown tremendous support for these scientists and hopes Ontario becomes the “global leader” in the fight against COVID-19.
“Our incredible scientific research and post-secondary community has stepped up in a big way,” Ford said.
“I want that vaccine to be discovered right here in Ontario”.
Ford had examples of some of the research being done in the province, such as the vaccine development at the University of Guelph and a rapid testing method being proposed from St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.
More projects and proposals are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, as they have to be evaluated by a peer review committee.
Minister Romano has gone on to say that the selected proposals have “a legitimate chance at success” and have the potential to have “immediate results”.
In Ontario, 413 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 24,187. There have also been 31 deaths reported as of this morning, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,993. 18,509 recoveries have been reported.
Canada COVID-19 Stats
Confirmed cases: 81,277