It sounds like testing is about to get much more widespread in Ontario. Premier Doug Ford said on Thursday, May 21 that he wants to see Ontario COVID-19 testing expanded sooner rather than later. In particular, he wants to start including asymptomatic residents and he teased that an announcement may be coming next week.
Ford was speaking alongside Health Minister Christine Elliott and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Ross Romano.
There, he was asked about Ontario's test rate, which is still notably lower than other provinces and trending downwards in recent days.
And he said the province will unveil a plan for random testing of the general population next week.
"They're coming up with a plan," Ford said of his health staff. "We can't just be testing people with symptoms, we have to start going to the broader public and testing as many people as possible, asymptomatic people.
"Until we do that... we can't get our hands around the whole system. How do we know how many asymptomatic people are out there right now?"
Ford stressed that he wants this initiative to start with truckers, taxi drivers, and other at-risk people like food workers.
"That's what I want and I'm confident it's going to happen," he said. "We'll have more information next week for you."
Ford did, however, note that what he wants isn't necessarily what will end up happening, as he continues to defer to health advice.
According to the Toronto Star, Ontario is testing fewer people for COVID-19 right now than it had previously managed, but more people returning positive for the virus.
Back on May 14, the province had announced it would begin testing all people who have symptoms of the virus, not just those in particularly at-risk groups.
On Thursday, Ford and Co. also announced they are proceeding with 15 proposals from provincial health centres and universities with an aim at developing a vaccine.
It was confirmed earlier this week that the province's state of emergency has been extended until May 29.
That means that the teased increase of the social gatherings limit from five to 10 people won't be happening until at least that date.
Back on Tuesday, it was finally confirmed that Ontario's public schools will not be reopening for physical classes again. Online distanced learning will continue.
But Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said that families will be granted temporary access to retrieve their items from schools in the foreseeable future.