Ontario to roll out fall preparedness plan to counter surge in COVID-19 cases

Preparedness plan includes testing, labs and hospitals

As new cases of COVID-19 surge in Ontario, the province will begin to release details Tuesday of its fall preparedness plan to counter the spike.

Premier Doug Ford was asked why it’s taken so long for the plan to be released. The premier said things have been changing from month to month.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the plan is very comprehensive with many elements, and some of that has already begun with enhanced testing.

“We have increased our tests and have reached 25,000 per day on a regular basis. On Saturday we reached 40,000 and are on our way to conduct 50,000 tests per day.”

Elliott said the province is also increasing lab capacity to deal with the additional testing.

The plan takes into account the start of the flu season, which Elliott said will make this more different to deal with than the first wave.

“There have been thousands of procedures and surgeries that were cancelled during wave one and we don’t want to cancel again. We want to make sure those surgeries and procedures can continue.”

The minister said the plan involves a lot of money from the federal government and internally. The premier echoed Elliott’s comments.

“We need Ottawa’s support and we need it now.”

The province previously said testing for COVID-19 would be expanded to pharmacies and Elliott touched on the topic during today’s media briefing.

“We are expanding the scope at the assessment centres and looking at them having longer hours. We are looking to pharmacies to do testing. That would be an appropriate place to send people who are asymptomatic.”

The Premier said the province hoped to have 60 pharmacies up and going by the end of the week to do testing.

The province reported 425 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, a level not seen since early June.