The province is stepping up its combating of the pandemic. With the number of cases rising, the provincial government has announced it will open its first wave of Ontario COVID-19 assessment centres within the next few days. The first wave of those treatment locations will be in the City of Toronto, the City of Ottawa, York Region, and Peel Region.
According to a release from the provincial ministry of health on Thursday morning, March 12, these centres will offer enhanced access to screening, increased lab-testing capacity, and new safety initiatives.
This first wave of centres will include Brampton Civic Hospital and Trillium Health Partners in Peel Region, The Ottawa Hospital, North York General Hospital and Scarborough Health Network in Toronto, and Mackenzie Health in Vaughan.
Per City News, they will be located in separate spaces to protect other patients.
The release adds that further assessment centres will be opened up "in the coming weeks."
Areas without one of the locations will continue to be serviced by their local hospital or primary care.
"Ontario's public health system continues to demonstrate remarkable responsiveness to COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
"While we have so far effectively contained new cases of this virus, we are relentlessly focused on planning for any scenario."
Our public health system continues to demonstrate remarkable responsiveness to #COVID19. We're actively working wit… https://t.co/NMpCMM2chO— Christine Elliott (@Christine Elliott) 1584020342.0
The province will also launch a new self-assessment tool on its dedicated COVID-19 page, which will ask the public a series of questions to help inform those who are concerned about having contracted the virus.
As reported by the Toronto Star, Premier Doug Ford’s government has also extended one-off extenuating funding to delay its controversial health cuts for another year.
The government said this action "recognizes the considerable time and resources necessary for public health units to effectively respond to COVID-19."
On Wednesday, the Star reports Ford announced a $100-million contingency fund for fighting the disease.
Meanwhile, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is calling for national paid sick leave to be installed across the board while the pandemic continues.
The announcement of these new measures came the morning after a remarkable night in the progression of the pandemic.
First, U.S. President Donald Trump announced restrictions on travel to the States from Europe. Shortly afterwards, American actor Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife Rita Wilson had tested positive.
And within the space of an hour or two, Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert was found to have contracted the virus. The remainder of the NBA season was almost immediately suspended indefinitely.