Premier finalizing COVID-19 fall plan as Liberals call for 'Ontario bubble' in second wave
TORONTO -- Ontario is set to release a "comprehensive fall preparedness plan" in the coming weeks, CTV News Toronto has learned, as the province experiences a new wave of COVID-19 case numbers.
Government sources told CTV News Toronto the province is preparing a strategy to deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases, the seasonal flu and the backlog of surgeries and expecting to unveil the plan once the details have been finalized.
The strategy would include the largest flu vaccination campaign in Ontario's history, as well as funding for hospital capacity, funding to address the surgery backlog and strengthening the protections around long-term care homes.
Ontario Liberal Leader Del Duca said the plan should include expanded sick leave for workers, guaranteed access to full-funded personal protective equipment for residents, patients and workers in long-term care homes and hospitals, and the elimination of wait times for COVID-19 testing.
The party is also considering a private members bill that would create "non-essential, inter-provincial travel restrictions" effectively putting a protective bubble around Ontario -- similar to the Atlantic bubble.
"This option needs to be on the table ... if its needed," Del Duca told CTV News Toronto.
Government sources said the idea of a provincial bubble isn't under consideration but could be discussed among provincial health officials at a later date if needed.
Premier Doug Ford repeatedly stressed this week that Ontario is not "even close" to experiencing the rise in per capita cases that has triggered new restrictions in British Columbia and rejected the idea of reinstating a widespread lockdown.
"It's unacceptable," Ford said at a news conference on Wednesday. "I wouldn't close the whole province when over 16 regions don't have a single case."
While the number of new cases has been on the rise in September, there has not been an increase rise in hospitalizations or deaths.
On Sept. 10, the province listed 54 people in hospital, 14 of whom were in an intensive case unit and nine required a ventilator.
On the same day, the province experienced a single COVID-19 death, down from the peak of roughly 60 deaths per day in May.