Sudbury

Ford's comments on COVID-19 testing show his 'true colours', says NDP health critic

The NDP health critic says comments Premier Doug Ford made this week calling out medical officers of health for not getting enough COVID-19 testing done are uncalled for.

Ford called out medical officers of health for length of time to test those in long-term care homes

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at his daily COVID-19 press conference held in Toronto. (Steve Russell/Pool/The Canadian Press)

The NDP health critic says comments Premier Doug Ford made this week calling out medical officers of health for not getting enough COVID-19 testing done are unwarranted.

On Tuesday, the premier slammed some of the province's medical officers of health and stated they aren't getting enough COVID-19 tests done during the pandemic.

"Some just aren't performing. I'm calling them out right now. You've got to pick up the pace," Ford said. "We need to hold these people accountable."

Ford didn't specifically mention any region or names. His office later clarified Ford was referring to testing at long-term care homes, specifically. Recently, the province ordered all residents and staff at those homes to be tested whether they have symptoms or not.

Nickel Belt MPP and NDP health critic France Gelinas says Ford has shown a lack of support for public health in the past.

"You will remember that Premier Ford wanted to close most of the health units, to go from 34 to 10," she said.

"To blame the medical officers of health for this, is to show his true colours, that he doesn't value public health."

France Gelinas is the MPP for Nickel Belt and the NDP's health critic. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Gelinas says across Ontario, there are 78,000 residents in long-term care homes and 140,000 staff who work in them.

"The lab capacity in Ontario, at its max, is not quite 20,000," she said.

"Even if we were to only test long-term care residents, it will take two weeks to get that done."

Gelinas points out that order came down from the province less than two weeks ago.

"To think that we do this job in a day because Premier Ford says he wants it done … is not being realistic," she said.

"He has the means to increase the testing. He has not done that. Some of the fingers should be pointing back at him rather than pointing at our medical officers of health."

With files from Sarah MacMillan

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