“Health workers are working around the clock to contain COVID-19, and (the Ford government’s current, ongoing review of the province’s health services) amid a global outbreak creates unnecessary confusion in trying times.” – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch
A Statement from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch
Posted March 12, 2020 on Niagara At Large
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO, Thursday, March 12, 2020
Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch – “People in my community of Niagara are concerned about COVID-19, also known as Corona Virus.
“Niagara Region Public health has been working with the province and the federal government on identifying travellers who might be carrying COVID-19. Locally they have developed multiple scenarios for what may happen and plans for those scenarios are continually being revisited as we learn more from other countries.
“I would join the Association of Local Public Health agencies in imploring this government to put their modernization review of public health and emergency health services on the back-turner.
“Health workers are working around the clock to contain COVID-19, and a modernization plan amid a global outbreak creates unnecessary confusion in trying times. The capacity for public health units has been eroding for years, primarily due to ministry caps on budget increases.
“My office spoke with Dr. Thomas Stewart, CEO of Niagara Health, who informed us that “the key immediate priorities are to get alternative testing sites up and running. In addition, given that occupancies are so high, we need plans to move patients not needing hospital care out.”
“We’ve heard from emergency room doctors, and public health officials concerned about emergency room testing of COVID-19, as those who are most vulnerable to the worst impacts of the virus are in our hospitals.
“Dr.Stewart of Niagara Health has assured my office that alternative testing sites will be available in the near future. It is vital that the province work with local hospitals, health units and public health to ensure the necessary funding is provided. Now is the time for investment and action that keeps the people of this province safe and informed and to establish that those working locally to contain this virus have all the resources required to carry out their essential work
“I would like to thank the health care workers, public health officials and administrators. Those in Niagara and across the province can rest assured that these people are working tirelessly behind the scenes to contain and mitigate COVID-19.”
A Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
If any other reviews Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his government has done or is doing in areas like health care, education and environmental protection are any example, the “modernization review” of public health and health emergency services that MPP Jeff Burch is referring to above is probably leading to more cuts or privatizing of our services by this government anyway.
So yes, Mr. Premier, see if you can tear yourself away from cutting and privatization of more of our services for now, and focus more of your attention instead on addressing what is a life-threatening pandemic.
While you are at it, Mr. Premier, how about passing some legislation guaranteeing paid sick days for workers who have little or no benefits and may be forced to stay home because of this virus. The U.S. Congress just passed an emergency bill this March 12th to address individuals and families affected by this pandemic that includes a guarantee for paid sick days in it.
You can, and I am sure you will, get back to your radical, right-wing agenda on behalf of your private sector, corporate masters later.)
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