If you think you need a COVID-19 test, go and get one. That’s the advice coming from Doug Ford on Saturday, as he urged Ontarians to head to their nearest assessment centre. Addressing the province’s low testing numbers, the premier begged locals to get a COVID-19 test in Ontario, symptoms or not.
In a public address on Sunday morning, Ontario’s premier spoke directly to people of the province, and urged them to consider taking a novel coronavirus test ASAP.
"I am here to ask for your help today," Ford started. "If you feel you need a test, you'll be able to get a test. So please don't wait."
He explained that testing is available to absolutely anybody in Ontario, even if you and your family are not showing any symptoms of the disease.
Acknowledging the low testing levels in the region, the premier added that there would be a new strategy unveiled next week, that will focus on testing “various sectors and hotspots.”
Until then, he urged anybody who would like to be assessed to find their nearest test centre. "Please go get a test. You will not be turned away," he added.
On Saturday, the province processed just 11,383 tests, which falls short of the province’s 16,000 daily benchmark. Previously, Ford had committed to 20,000 tests per day.
The region continues to experience an upward trend in COVID-19 cases, as Ontario health officials confirmed 460 new cases on Sunday, the highest climb since May 8.
Premier Ford Provides a COVID-19 Update https://t.co/X9rL8pjasx— Doug Ford (@Doug Ford) 1590331708.0
In an announcement on Friday, the premier announced that he wanted to begin testing asymptomatic essential workers as soon as possible, starting with truckers, taxi drivers, and essential food workers.
This follows a plan to assess asymptomatic front-line health care workers, which began this weekend.
"Our assessment centers are ready to receive you and the only way we can get those testing numbers up, the only way we can get those numbers where they need to be is for everyone who feels they need it to go get tested," Ford concluded on Sunday.
If you are worried you have #COVID19, or that you’ve been exposed to someone who has the virus please get tested. Y… https://t.co/GIXL1aEKKn— Doug Ford (@Doug Ford) 1590332243.0
During his weekend statement, Ford also took a moment to speak out about the situation in Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday.
Up to 10,000 people are believed to have gathered in the park to enjoy the warm weather, but many did not practice social distancing, did not wear masks, and were socializing in groups of more than five.
“I thought it was a rock concert at the beginning, I was absolutely shocked,” said Ford.
“I thought it was a rock concert at the beginning,” premier @fordnation says he was absolutely shocked after seeing… https://t.co/L9ktUJ6sjT— Tina Yazdani (@Tina Yazdani) 1590332138.0
“My friends, I get it. It’s a beautiful day out, everyone wants to get out and have a great time. I fully understand. But the images I saw, we just can’t have that right now. It’s just too many people, too close,” he added.
“There is still a deadly virus among us. And if we allow it, it will spread. It will spread like wildfire,” said Ford.
The premier is expected to make further announcements next week to provide more information about the province's latest COVID-19 testing plan.