October 30, 2020
Today, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce announced an investment of $62.4 million to build two new secondary schools in Etobicoke, as part of the government’s commitment to invest $12 billion over 10 years to build and upgrade schools. The new schools announced today will accommodate more than 2,000 students.
In his remarks, Premier Ford mentioned that the government intends to introduce legislation in the coming days to extend Ontario’s ban on commercial evictions. The Premier also indicated that updated COVID-19 modeling data released yesterday demonstrates the success of measures taken on October 10th to re-introduce modified Stage 2 restrictions for ‘hot zones’. He has asked health officials to provide recommendations next week on how restrictions can be eased once the initial 28-day period in modified Stage 2 is over.
Premier Ford and Minister Lecce were joined by Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe. Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Dr. Yaffe responded to questions from media regarding the province’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier today, Minister of Long-Term Care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, announced the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program in five communities across the province. This program will help seniors on long-term care waitlists safely stay in their own homes for longer.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
Easing Restrictions for Regions in Modified Stage 2
When asked to elaborate on his comments regarding easing restrictions in modified Stage 2 regions after the initial 28-day period, Premier Ford said updated COVID-19 modeling data released yesterday indicates that the situation is improving in these regions. Dr. Yaffe added that, although COVID-19 case numbers continue to increase, cases are growing at a slower rate, which suggests that health officials can begin to consider modifying restrictions in hotspots in order to appropriately balance economic and health risks. However, she urged Ontarians to remain vigilant and continue following public health guidance regarding masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene.
Premier Ford was also asked to elaborate on his comments yesterday regarding his desire for a more “surgical” approach to COVID-19 public health restrictions. In response, the Premier said he would be interested in taking an approach that is more reflective of the disparities in COVID-19 cases within regions by toughening restrictions in parts of regions with the highest rates of transmission. He added that it is unfair to punish all residents of a city or region if only a small area is experiencing an outbreak. Premier Ford has asked health officials to consider this approach.
Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care Program
Earlier today, Dr. Fullerton announced the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program to help provide enhanced at-home supports for seniors waiting for long-term care, in order to ease the burden on Ontario’s hospitals.
The program will be delivered in phases, with phase one taking place in Brant County, Cochrane District, the City of Ottawa, Renfrew County, and York Region. Based on the experience of the first phase, the program may be expanded to additional interested communities.
Services offered through the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program include:
- Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods;
- Home visits and in-home testing procedures;
- Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents;
- Additional education about topics such as healthy living or management of chronic disease;
- Connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports.