Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, says the province is ready to move forward with its planned reopening.
The premier, who was at an event in Ajax, Ontario, on Tuesday (Feb. 1), says though the province will continue with its re-opening plan, they will be doing it cautiously.
He says his government created 3,100 new beds, hired 6,700 new healthcare workers with another 6,000 on the way, all while building long-term care facilities across the province and investing billions in new hospitals.
“So, are we ready? Yeah. We’re ready,” he says. “We’re ready to move forward but we have to do it cautiously. We can’t just jump into it, open everything up tomorrow. We have to be very, very cautious.”
Ford says it’s great news the province began its re-opening today and will continue to do so, but officials will still be keeping an eye on the situation in Ontario hospitals.
“The hospitals are in better shape… but we still see a bit of absenteeism. We’re still seeing pressure. We’re still getting surgeries back up and going. We’re going to be cautious moving forward. But we’re going to get there,” says the Premiere.
Ford adds the federal government needs to step up and contribute more to healthcare if Ontario is to grow.
Christine Elliott, Ontario’s Minister of Health, says the number of people in hospital and intensive care units is high, however, it is starting to go down.
”The science advisory table has basically indicated that it appears that the peak of Omicron has passed,” said the Minister. “That doesn’t mean we’re entirely in the clear, of course. We still do have high levels in both our hospitalizations and intensive care units. However, that is starting to decline. This week we’ve had about 3,000 people admitted to hospital, last week it was over 4,000. […] We’re opening up pediatric surgeries, cancer screenings, making sure we can let independent health facilities [and private hospitals] operate, All those things are possible because we do have [capacity].”
Elliot says even if the numbers do go up slightly as we start opening up, the modelling has been done to indicate hospitals will still have the capacity to deal with that increase but also be able to deal with the surgeries and procedures that have been postponed.
“We feel we are ready for whatever will happen as we move forward,” she says.
***With files from Mo Fahim