Shomporko Desk:-TORONTO – Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday his administration has a plan to deal with the second wave of COVID-19 this fall, a vow that comes as Ontario’s hospitals warn the surge may come as flu season strikes.
Portage said he has been talking with provincial health officials about the plan, yet offered no insights concerning how or when it will be reported.
The premier made the remarks during a visit to a Cambridge, Ont., business that is producing personal protective equipment, stressing that the province’s health-care system is in an ideal situation now than it was in the beginning phases of the pandemic.
“We have a plan that will be rolling out and we’re prepared,” he said. “We are 100 times better, more prepared now in health care and PPEs … but we can never, ever, ever, let our guard down.”
The statement came a day after Ford announced most of the province will reopen further this Friday, progressing to Stage 3 of Ontario’s economic recovery plan.
All of the regions cleared to enter the next phase will see significant changes in everything from public gathering limits to the range of services available.
But the CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association said while the province’s economic recovery is vital, so too will be preparing for a possible second wave of patients.
“By its very nature, moving to Stage 3 introduces the heightened risk of renewed spread,” Anthony Dale said in a statement. “As a result, it is essential that Ontario’s health-care system be ready for further outbreaks and a second wave of the pandemic. Nothing should be taken for granted.”
Dale said the province must develop a contingency plan to ensure regional service and staffing plans are in place ahead of the surge.
Resources must also be provided to health-care services outside of hospitals, Dale said, with the OHA calling for a “widespread expansion” of home care, community services and virtual care.
“A potential second wave of COVID-19 will likely collide with flu season, adding significant pressure to a sector already experiencing unprecedented demands and conditions,” he said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she is concerned the government has no plan to deal with a second wave this fall and urged the Ford to begin work now in the health and long-term care sectors.
“The second wave is coming, it’s just a matter of when,” she said. “And if it’s exacerbated by the flu season, then we have some real worries.”
The premier said he believes bars and their patrons will be responsible and practise physical distancing as they reopen.
Meanwhile, Ontario reported 111 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, along with one new death due to the novel coronavirus.
The total number of cases now stands at 36,950, which includes 32,785 marked as resolved and 2,723 deaths. The province also reported 122 newly resolved cases on Tuesday.
Photo credit: Chris Young/The Canadian Press
News source: The Canadian Press