Premier Doug Ford doubled down and vehemently denied a report that suggested he ignored public health officials prior to releasing Ontario’s COVID-19 colour-coded framework, calling the claims ‘totally inaccurate.’
“I am a little disappointed on that note but that’s one doctor’s perspective. At the end of the day, I stood here when we put this out with Dr. Williams and we went along with the framework and he approved it,” Ford said in Hamilton on Thursday.
“The easy thing to do, folks, is just shut down the whole province. How do you deal with the mental health again of people? It’s easy for people to say, shut everything down, when they’re guaranteed a paycheck every week.”
Ford said his government is taking a balanced approach and will not shut down the province in an effort to stabilize and improve the economy.
This comes after a health official said the Ford government approved and went ahead with the colour-coded framework without consulting advice from the province’s medical experts.
“The fact is, Dr. Williams came to us with a framework and cabinet approved it,” Ford repeated.
“I agree, sometimes it’s confusing, but it allows us the flexibility to move quickly. That doesn’t mean we can’t change this. Nothing in this pandemic is concrete.”
ICU physician Dr. Michael Warner, reacted online to the report, saying: “It’s now clear that Ontario’s reopening framework was created without adequate input from healthcare professionals, public health experts, or scientists.”
On Thursday, Ontario’s Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, responded to the backlash insisting the system had full input from all the province experts.
“Our framework is focused on introducing preventative measures earlier to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” Elliott said.
Elliott said the framework presented by the Ford government does a good job of preventing the possibility of “prolonged, deeper periods of lockdown.”
Ontario broke another daily, COVID-19 record on Thursday with 1,575 new cases and 8 additional deaths. The province said 39,559 tests have been completed, with a 4.3 per cent positivity rate.