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Ontario Hospital Association questions province's lockdown delay

Last Updated Dec 22, 2020 at 8:13 am PDT

A man walks into the main entrance to St Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. The hospital has declared an outbreak of COVID-19. THECANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn THECANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The head of the Ontario Hospital Association is wondering why it's taking so long to bring new lockdown measures in

OHA CEO says it was disappointing to hear Ontario's lockdown wouldn't be implemented until Boxing Day

Hospital association says every day counts in fight against COVID-19

TORONTO – As Ontario prepares for a province-wide lockdown, that will begin on Boxing Day, the head of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is wondering why it’s taking so long to bring these new measures in.

The OHA said it was disappointed the lockdown wouldn’t be implemented until a later date.

“The Dec. 26 implementation date sends a confusing message about what (residents) should and shouldn’t do at this crucial moment,” said CEO Anthony Dale.

Adding every day makes a difference, he said the association is already hearing from hospital and health system leaders who are shocked that restrictions won’t come into effect until after Christmas.

He noted that the consequences of the decisions each person makes today will be felt in Ontario’s hospitals in the weeks to come.

Over the past several weeks, various medical organizations have pressed the government for stronger action in order to alleviate the growing strain the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the health-care system.

An association of Greater Toronto Area hospitals joined the OHA and the Ontario Medical Association in calling for stronger lockdown measures, warning that a surge in cases following the holiday season is expected to make the situation even worse.

The group said frontline health-care workers are stressed and their efforts to battle the pandemic are being overstretched, reaching a level that is “simply not sustainable for much longer.”

“We are seeing increasing numbers of staff becoming ill and not able to work – both with COVID-19 and other illnesses. While we are coping and planning for redeployment, we are seeing more illness and stress and hearing about the toll this is taking on people’s families,” a joint statement reads.

“We recognize that lockdown measures are challenging for many members of our communities, but we cannot afford to put patients and health care workers at further risk.”