September 16, 2020
Today Premier Doug Ford announced the launch of a screening tool, for use by parents, students, and educators, to assess COVID-19 symptoms each day before attending school.
Premier Ford was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott; Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce; President of the Treasury Board, Peter Bethlenfalvy; and Chief Coroner for Ontario, Dr. Dirk Huyer.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Elliott responded to questions from media regarding Ontario’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Launch of COVID-19 Screening Tool
This afternoon, Premier Ford announced a new tool to support parents, students, and educators with conducting daily mandatory screening for COVID-19 symptoms, which is required prior to attending school. Use of this free tool will be voluntary and will help users determine whether they or their child should attend school each day. The tool will also guide at-risk individuals to the proper resources.
Premier Ford reiterated that students or staff exhibiting even mild symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home, and asked employers to show understanding and flexibility for parents.
The screening tool protects the privacy of users and does not collect personal health information.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
In response to questions about long lines at COVID-19 assessment centres, Premier Ford reassured Ontarians that the government is working with the private sector to increase the province’s capacity for conducting and processing tests.
Minister Elliott added that the province is working to increase its testing capacity to 50,000 per day in tandem with a corresponding increase in laboratory capacity, so that those tested can receive their results in a timely manner, and so that the province is prepared for an anticipated surge in testing demand during flu season.
Premier Ford also confirmed that the government is not considering restricting testing access to symptomatic people, but added that, once available, testing in retail facilities will be specifically for asymptomatic individuals.
Regional Surges in Toronto, GTA, Ottawa
When asked about the anticipated re-introduction of stricter public health measures in areas of the province experiencing outbreaks, including Toronto, parts of the Greater Toronto Area, and Ottawa, Premier Ford confirmed that Cabinet would be discussing this issue today. He added that there will be “severe fines, the highest in the country” for Ontarians in these areas who ignore public health guidelines.
Hydro Rate Relief
When asked about hydro rates, Premier Ford responded that the government will maintain the current off-peak relief rates for as long as possible.