DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ontario government remains confident in their phased plan to reopen the province.
Citing the government’s investments in hospital beds and new long-term care builds, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said, during a press conference, on Tuesday, February 1st, there is reason for hope as the province continues to move through this pandemic.
“We’re ready to move forward, but we have to do it cautiously. We can’t just jump into it and open everything up tomorrow. We have to be very, very cautious. We have a strong plan. It’s great news that we’re opening up and moving forward,” Premier Ford explained. “The hospitals are in better shape, but we still see a little bit of absenteeism, we’re still seeing pressure, we’re still getting surgeries back up and going. So we’re going to be cautious moving forward.”
With the cautious approach, Premier Ford added, the government hopes not to implement further lockdowns. But, he stressed the need for further federal funding.
“We need the federal government to pitch in [through] the Canadian Health transfers. Folks, we’re getting 22 percent out of the 100 percent we’re investing. There’s no province or territory that can sustain the funding. So, we need the federal government to step up and contribute more than 22 percent; we need ongoing funding from the federal government. We can’t take 78 percent of the burden [while] they take 22 percent of the burden.”
Premier Ford also complimented the provincial government’s approach to this pandemic so far.
“We have the toughest guidelines in North America. As everyone is moving forward, we’re being cautious; we’re making sure we beef up our hospitals with staff [which] are needed and well overdue,” he said.