Tag Archives: ‘Shortsighted’

Reopening plans ‘shortsighted,’ doctor says as Ontario reports 1,087 new COVID-19 cases

A doctor who was demoted after speaking out about the province’s handling of the pandemic expressed concern on Sunday about Ontario’s reopening plans as the province reported 1,087 new COVID-19 cases. 

Dr. Brooks Fallis, a critical care physician at the William Osler Health System, said in an interview on CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live that he believes Ontario is headed for a third wave amid the rising numbers of cases involving variants of concern, and that not enough is being done to prevent it. 

“I think we’re doing really everything too quickly,” Fallis said.

“I think we should be taking a real pause across the province and across the country to realize how serious the implications of these variants are.” 

The province reported on the weekend that there are more than 400 cases of variants of concern in Ontario.

There are 391 cases of the B117 variant, the one first detected in the United Kingdom, nine cases of the B.1.351 variant, the one first detected in South Africa, and one case of the P.1 variant, the one first detected in Brazil.

In an interview on Rosemary Barton Live, Dr. Brooks Fallis speaks out against reopening plans in several provinces as officials study potential implications of the spread of new COVID-19 variants. 8:46

Along with variants being more transmissible and potentially more deadly, Fallis said there is potential for immune evasion for some strains. That means if a person contracted COVID-19 once, that person could get it again.

Once a variant of concern is established, particularly the variant first detected in the United Kingdom, it’s very hard to contain, according to Fallis. 

From an economic perspective, Fallis said the reopening plans are “shortsighted,” noting that the variants will “explode” in the population and lead right back to a lockdown.

“I don’t really believe that it helps businesses to give them a short period of reopening, only to close them for longer because we open the door to the new variants.”

Fallis has been publicly critical of the province’s pandemic response, something he has said led to a demotion earlier this year as interim medical director of critical care at the William Osler Health System.

Both his employer and Premier Doug Ford’s office deny that claim.

Fallis has said speaking out and advocating for a better response will meaningfully save lives and change the outcome of the pandemic, something he says is a physician’s obligation. 

Ontario reports 1,087 new cases, 13 new deaths

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,087 new COVID-19 cases and 13 new deaths on Sunday, one day before York Region is set to move out of lockdown and back into the province’s colour-coded pandemic response framework.

Most new cases were seen in the Greater Toronto Area, including 344 in Toronto, 156 in Peel Region and 122 in York Region, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said. 

Sunday is the fourth straight day in which daily case counts have topped 1,000.

As for new deaths, four are among residents in long-term care homes.

The additional deaths reported on Sunday bring the total number of COVID-19-related fatalities since the pandemic began to 6,861.

The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 sits at 660, a slight decrease from 699 seen on Saturday.

Of that number, 277 were being treated in ICU and the number of people on ventilators remained at 181, according to the health ministry. 

Ontario’s network of labs processed 48,200 test samples in the past 24 hours, which pushed the province’s positivity rate up to 2.7, Elliott said. 

As of Saturday, 556,533 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered.

York Region will be in the red-control zone as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday. 

Toronto, Peel and the North Bay Parry Sound will remain under the stay-at-home order until at least March 8. 

Excitement ‘palpable’ at Toronto vaccination clinic 

Meanwhile, as the province prepares to deal with an increased supply of vaccines, the vaccination clinics themselves are being set up. 

In an interview on CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live, Emily Musing, vice president of quality and safety at the University Health Network vaccination clinic, said this is the first week in several weeks that the network has been able to provide first doses to many people eligible according to the province’s priority groups. 

Musing said her clinic is ready to vaccinate as many people in a day as possible. She said the clinic just needs the go-ahead from the province.


In an interview on CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live, Emily Musing, vice president of quality and safety at the University Health Network vaccination clinic, said this is the first week in several weeks that the network has been able to provide first doses to many people eligible according to the province’s priority groups.  (Rosemary Barton Live)

“The level of excitement, delight is palpable,” she said of the people waiting in line at the clinic to receive their first or second dose of the vaccines. 

“People are seeing that, finally, a vaccine is available and they’re going to be able to be protected against COVID-19.” 

In a tweet, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie shared a photo of Paramount Fine Foods Centre field house completely transformed into one of the region’s five vaccination sites.


The site, “where up to 600 people an hour can be vaccinated at full capacity” is slated to open soon, Crombie said in the tweet Sunday. 

Phase 1 of the rollout is expected to include adults 80 years of age and older, staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings, high priority health care workers, all Indigenous adults and adult recipients of chronic home care.

Phase 2 is set to begin as early as March. Under this phase, more vaccination sites will be added, including municipally run locations, hospital sites, mobile vaccination locations, pharmacies, clinics, community-run health centres and aboriginal health centres.

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‘Shortsighted’ and ‘wrong’: Ontario moving forward with municipal funding cuts

Child-care and health-care advocates are slamming the provincial government’s plan to go ahead with some of its controversial municipal funding cuts next year.

Premier Doug Ford made an announcement on the cuts Monday at a gathering of municipal leaders in Ottawa.

The Progressive Conservative government tried to force retroactive funding cuts this year, but had to cancel them after municipal leaders complained their annual budgets had already passed.

Despite some extra time before funding is slashed, the news was unwelcome for Carolyn Ferns, public policy and government relations co-ordinator with Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.

“Sure, they’ve delayed some of those cuts now — but they’re still coming,” she said. “That just creates uncertainty, stress for families and sort of chaos at the municipal level across the province as they try to scramble to figure out what’s happening.”

Ford said some of this year’s planned cuts — to public health, child care and land ambulance funding — will take effect Jan. 1.

“We recognize our government moved quickly when we came into office to address our inherited challenges,” Ford said at the gathering of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). “But we’ve listened to you.”

Prior to the changes announced by the Ford government last spring, municipalities had varying public health cost-sharing arrangements with the province — with Ontario paying 100 per cent or 75 per cent in some cases.

The new plan will see all municipalities — including Toronto — pay 30 per cent of public health care costs. Under the initial plan, Toronto would have been on the hook for 50 per cent of the cost.

Coun. Joe Cressy, chair of Toronto’s board of health, said officials are trying to figure out what the full financial impact of the cuts will be — but he was adamant that the cuts would amount to tens of millions of dollars annually for the city.

“If these cuts go ahead, many of our critical programs are at risk,” he said.

“As is too often the case with this provincial government, they make announcements first and provide details later.”

Funding cut for new child-care spaces

Starting on Jan. 1, municipalities will also have to pay 20 per cent of the cost of creating new child-care spaces, which the province previously fully funded.

Some cuts to funding for administrative child-care costs are being delayed until 2021 and others are being delayed to 2022.

Ford also said land ambulance funding will increase by four per cent.

Toronto Mayor John Tory had warned the public health cuts would affect services like children’s breakfast programs, vaccination programs and water quality testing, and the child-care cuts would jeopardize subsidies.

He and the mayors of Ontario’s largest municipalities had slammed the various cuts to municipal funding earlier this year, characterizing them as “downloading by stealth.”


Toronto Mayor John Tory had warned the public health cuts would affect services like children’s breakfast programs, vaccination programs and water quality testing, and the child-care cuts would jeopardize subsidies. (John Rieti/CBC)

Tory softened his stance Monday, saying in a statement he “appreciates the government’s efforts over the past few months to listen to municipalities.”

“As I have said before, I recognize and appreciate the challenges the government of Ontario faces in getting its deficit under control, and I support its intention to do so,” he said. “However, this must be done in a prudent, collaborative manner that does not impact the services that people in Toronto rely on each and every day.”

Travis Kann, spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott, said in an emailed statement the changes will mean Toronto will have to pay more for public health services.

“So long as the City of Toronto meets its obligations, there should be no reduction in overall spending on public health services and programs,” Kann said, adding the city will “be expected to pay $ 4.3 million more next year from an operating budget of over $ 13 billion.”

Cressy told CBC News the cuts are “nothing short of an attack on Ontarians.

“Make no mistake, these cuts will hurt people,” Cressy said. “They are shortsighted and they are wrong.”

Ontario’s deficit is $ 11.7 billion

For weeks, the premier and his cabinet ministers had defended the cuts as necessary to tackle an urgent financial situation and said municipalities needed to do their part, as the recipients of a large share of provincial dollars. The government is trying to eliminate an $ 11.7 billion deficit.

In the midst of taking heat from municipalities over the cuts this spring, Ford announced up to $ 7.35 million in total for audits to help them find savings in their budgets. Ford’s office said Monday that 34 of 39 eligible municipalities took the province up on its offer.

All school boards were also eligible to apply, but the premier’s office said only two did, so the deadline for them to apply is being extended to Aug. 30.


‘We recognize our government moved quickly when we came into office to address our inherited challenges,’ Ford said. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

AMO president Jamie McGarvey, who introduced Ford at the event Monday, said municipalities understand the province’s goals and urged the government to work with civic leaders.

“We cannot achieve these things with abrupt, unilateral changes and it will take more than simple belt tightening to make things better,” McGarvey said. “Working together, we can avoid unnecessary turmoil, and respect the essential front line-services that our governments deliver.”

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