Premier Doug Ford announced Nov. 20 the province will be going on lockdown for 28 days.
It came after a press conference from Ford announcing measures he said he hoped to avoid.
“We’ve saved lives, but this virus, it spreads like wildfire,” Ford said at his news conference. “And in certain parts of the province, it’s spreading at an alarming rate in the community.”
Bonnie Lysyk, Ontario’s auditor general, agreed the Ford government did well at the beginning of the pandemic but failed to prepare for the second wave.
“Ontario would have been much better prepared to address the challenges of COVID-19 had it addressed many of the recommendations in past reports from the SARS commission, from our office, and from others,” Lysyk said.
The report also said public health officials were not the ones leading the province’s response.
Ford and his cabinet have denied these statements calling the report inaccurate and said it undermines public health during the pandemic.
“Don’t start pretending you’re [Lysyk] a doctor or a health professional because I’ll tell you, you’re not,” he said.
Ford is not the only one expressing anger post-shutdown, with business owners like the owner of Adamson Barbeque in Etobicoke refusing to shutdown and opening his doors to the public this week.
He has since been arrested and raised over $100,000 on GoFundMe for his legal defence.
But people like Diane Soares, a clinical educator specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children, said this lockdown is not about who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s about sticking together and seeing this through.
“I understand the twenties, and the teenagers who think they’re invincible,” Soares said. “Until you’re sick, you don’t really get it, it’s unbelievably hard to control.”
Ford made it clear that in-class learning, long-term care homes, and hospitals cannot be put at risk.
“To protect our most vulnerable and protect what matters most we have to get the community spread under control,” Ford said at his news conference.
Ontario’s government is hoping these measures limit community transmission of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open, safeguard health system capacity, and protect the province’s most vulnerable populations.
In a response to questions by Et Cetera, the Ministry of Health said the province’s fall preparedness plan is underway, and “active work continues with hospitals and other health care organizations on COVID-19 on system monitoring, capacity planning and support.”
Ford’s government has set aside up to $283.7 million in support, extending diagnostic imaging hours at health care facilities, and initiating a centralized waitlist and surgical smoothing program.
Ontario will also be injecting $351 million for more than 2,250 new beds at 57 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province.
The lockdown will last 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, after which officials will determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level.