Ford distinguishes between Ontario residents who hold private gatherings and institutions that defy the rules of COVID-19

Prime Minister Doug Ford made a distinction among Ontario residents who flout public health measures through private rallies and institutions that openly defy the province’s COVID-19 rules on Tuesday.

The comments came in response to questions about a Toronto barbeque’s owner publicly pledging to keep its doors open amid the district’s closure of the city.

“They have to follow the rules. There can be no rules for one group without the other,” he told a news conference on Tuesday, less forcefully than in other cases in which the prime minister comes out swinging against people throwing big parties or weddings. For example.

“When it comes to private parties, this is a different ball of wax,” said Ford. “I’m not going here and start hitting the small business owner when the guy catches his fingernails. I differentiate between someone in the house who is a reckless who has 100 people who party and who rent a place for general storage … that’s reckless.

“I don’t condone that he opened up but I feel terrible. My heart breaks for these men … These business owners, believe me.” But please, having said all of this, you must follow the protocols and guidelines. “

Watch | Ford’s comments on Toronto BBQ restaurant vowing to stay open during the COVID-19 lockdown:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said a Toronto grill restaurant owner who opened for indoor dining in violation of county lockdown orders should follow the rules, and says his “ heart is breaking ” for small businesses. 1:12

The Quick Test begins, Auditor General prepares to release the report

The province also announced Tuesday that it has begun rolling out rapid tests in long-term care homes, rural and remote areas – what the prime minister has called a “game changer.”

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The rapid tests, which can yield results in minutes instead of days, have been sent to 36 long-term care homes and 27 retirement homes, as well as some hospitals.

Ford said the province will continue to publish the 98,000 ID Now tests and 1.2 million Panbio tests it has received from the federal government in the coming weeks, and Health Secretary Christine Elliott says 1.5 million Panbio tests are expected to arrive in Ontario next month.

The announcement comes as a data error led to an artificially low daily total of 1,009 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday.

It also comes just one day before the county auditor-general is appointed to release a three-part report on the county’s pandemic emergency preparedness and response to COVID-19, including laboratory testing, case management and contact tracing.

A spokesperson for Health Secretary Christine Elliott said yesterday’s number of 1,589 cases (which appears to be a record) inadvertently included an additional eight and a half hours of data from November 22, meaning the total number was overestimated. Today’s number copes with the error.

The new cases include 497 in Toronto, 175 in the Bell region and 118 in York. The seven day average is now stabilizing at 1395.

Other public health units that have seen a doubling increase are:

  • Waterloo District: 40
  • Windsor: 31
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 25
  • Ottawa: 19
  • Niagara Region: 19
  • Durham Region: 16
  • Wellington Dufferin Guelph: 16
  • Hamilton: 10
  • Thunder Bay: 14
[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.]
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The test drops to about half the capacity

The additional cases today include 270 school-related cases: 223 students and 47 employees. The Ministry of Education said in a statement that the number was not a one-day increase. Instead, it reflects cases identified in schools from 2 p.m. last Friday to 2 p.m. yesterday, as well as some other unreported cases on Friday due to professional learning days in some councils, including public and Catholic councils in Toronto.

There are currently 703 publicly funded schools in Ontario, or about 14.6 per cent, with at least one reported case of COVID-19. Four schools have been closed due to the disease, including one in Windsor which has 39 cases, the largest school-related outbreak in the county.

There are now 12,917 confirmed and active cases of the disease nationwide, down slightly from yesterday as 1,082 cases were identified today.

The additional infections come in today’s update as the Ontario Laboratories Network processed 27,053 test samples for the novel coronavirus, and added 29,316 to the waiting list that has to be completed. Currently there is a capacity in the system of 50,000 tests per day. Meanwhile, the province reported a positive test rate of 5.8 percent.

The official death toll from COVID-19 has increased by 14 to 3,519. So far this month, 374 people have died of COVID-19 in Ontario.

The number of people infected with COVID-19 in hospitals has also jumped, rising to 27, reaching 534. Of these, 159 are being treated in intensive care and 91 are being treated with ventilators. Public health officials have identified 150 patients in intensive care units as a minimum when surgeries and unrelated procedures could be delayed due to the burdens on the hospital system.

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Meanwhile, a group of engineers, doctors and other professionals issued an open letter to the county on Tuesday, calling for updated COVID-19 guidelines that stress the importance of ventilation when it comes to reducing the risk of the virus spreading.

The message says: “With the approach of winter, our activities are moving inward. Therefore, it is imperative that public institutions, workplaces and individuals are aware of the risks of aerosol transmission as well as measures that can be taken to combat it.”

Backed by 36 professionals, he is also calling for the county to authorize and fund ventilation assessments, upgrade places like schools and long-term care homes, and set ventilation standards for reopening, among other measures.

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