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.
As Ontario sees its 7th straight day of new daily cases over the 2,000 mark, a province-wide lockdown is set for Boxing Day.
— 680 NEWS Toronto (@680NEWS) December 22, 2020
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.”