The Ford government is adding new testing sites, acute care beds at hospitals and contact tracers in Peel Region as more public health restrictions took effect overnight to counter surging COVID-19 infection rates.
The help comes as the region’s top public health official says area hospitals are sending patients elsewhere in the province because they are full.
“Our hospitals are transferring patients all over Ontario. That means our healthcare system in Peel is at capacity, beyond capacity,” Dr. Lawrence Loh said Monday.
Officials said 20 hospital in-patients have been moved elsewhere to date.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says existing COVID-19 assessment centres in Peel will resume taking walk-ins for people who cannot book appointments online.
Three new assessment centres will be set up in the next 24 hours – at Snelgrove Community Centre, Gore Meadows Community Centre and Library, and Greenbriar Recreation Centre.
The three new sites will be operational in the next 24 hours, Elliott said.
There will also be a new pop-up testing site at CMHA of Peel Dufferin at 7700 Hurontario Street.
Peel, and more specifically Brampton, has seen hundreds of new coronavirus cases in recent days, with test positivity rates reaching 10 per cent in Brampton in late October.
The region entered the Red or “Control,” the second-highest of five levels of COVID-19 restrictions developed by Ontario this month, on Saturday.
Elliott said she welcomed Loh’s measures, as local medical officers of health are able to “tailor” the response to the needs of the community.
In addition, she said the province would spend $42 million more to add 234 more acute and critical care hospital beds at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, William Osler Health System in Peel and north Etobicoke, and Headwaters Healthcare in Caledon.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the new resources would help residents have greater access to testing.
“We had to add more resources in an area like Peel to allow individuals to do more to reduce their risk,” he said. “We have to have a really good response by the public to bring this down under control.”
Liberal leader Steven Del Duca slammed Ford and Elliott’s handling of the spike in Peel, questioning why indoor dining should resume at a time where the region is seeing near record-level case growth.
“Peel’s top doctor says the region is the hardest hit in Ontario. With zero help from Doug Ford, Peel has moved forward with its own enhanced measures to halt the growing spread of COVID-19. Thank goodness they have the courage to overrule Doug Ford.”
Photo credit: Collected
News source: CP24