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'You deserve to know': Ontario will release modelling data on 'extremely serious' COVID-19 threat
TORONTO -- Ontario health officials will release modelling data that shows the worst-case scenario for the province during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"You deserve to know what I know when you’re making decisions for yourself, your family and your community," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said during a news conference at Queen's Park on Thursday.
"Over the last few days we have talked about how critical the next few weeks will be for Ontario. It is a matter of life and death."
"I haven’t shy away from the hard facts but the truth is the situation is extremely serious."
On Friday, Ford said Ontario's top doctors will provide a full briefing to the public on how serious the COVID-19 threat could get.
"Top doctors will provide an update on where Ontario was and where Ontario is and where Ontario could be," Ford said.
"You need to have the best information. I know many people find this information hard to hear. The new reality is hard."
The government has based its recent self-distancing advice to Ontarians on provincial modelling, which has projected a "critical" situation over the next few weeks, with larger waves of patients ending up in hospitals and intensive care.
The province, however, previously refused to share the data claiming that different models result in different outcomes which could lead to public panic.
"We're going to cause panic if we overestimate," Ford said on Wednesday. "The worst case scenario can get bad."
Canadian health officials have taken a different approach from their counterparts in the United States, who released dramatic predictions on the potential outcome of the pandemic.
U.S. President Donald Trump revealed White House COVID-19 projections, which showed between 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die during the pandemic, even with the country's mitigation efforts.
Ontario health officials confirmed 401 more cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 16 more deaths, bringing the provincial total to 2,793 patients.
Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau faced questions on Thursday as to why the country hasn't released national projections on the scale of the virus' spread. He said that answers to those questions would be "coming soon."
Ford invests in mental health
Ford also announced Thursday an investment of $12 million to expand online and virtual mental health supports.
Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey announced $2.7 million on Thursday for community agencies to support victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province is also investing $1.3 million in technology to help courts and tribunals operate remotely.
With files from The Canadian Press