It has been a stressful weekend with Ontario hitting over 1000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day for the first time on Sunday.
While some would prefer to play down the risk of COVID-19, it only takes a little common sense to realize that our province is still going in the wrong direction. While we’re seeing record setting case numbers, we have also witnessed some incredibly disappointing behaviour from one PC MPP this weekend. Sam Oosterhoff, the PC MPP for Niagara West, and the parliamentary assistant for education, took the opportunity to pose for a photo with over 30 other people, indoors and without masks.
This behaviour from a sitting MPP is absolutely unacceptable, and this afternoon the Ontario NDP has issued a call for MPP Oosterhoff to be removed from his role as parliamentary assistant. At a time where new cases are spreading rapidly, it is vital that we are all making a real effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. That means that we need to wear our masks, maintain a safe distance from one another, and wash our hands frequently. It is baffling to me, that seven months into this pandemic that a sitting MPP would need to be reminded of these basic responsibilities.
It’s these exact types of gatherings that are contributing to the spread of COVID-19. And it’s not just those in the pictures that will get infected, it also puts many others at risk. This is a truth that we are once again seeing play out in long-term care facilities across Ontario. As of Sunday, 82 long-term care homes in Ontario had reported COVID-19 outbreaks, with more facilities infected every day. In response to this continued failure from the Ford government, today the Ontario NDP is calling on the Minister of Long-Term Care to be removed from her position.
Now that we are in a second wave of COVID-19, you would have thought we would be better prepared this time – but we’re not. There are currently fewer staff than when the first wave broke out, and it’s all because Doug Ford and his Minister of Long-Term Care have been pinching pennies on the backs of seniors in Ontario.
We should be learning from the mistakes of the past – not rushing to make them again.
Along those lines, later this week there will be an incredibly important vote on a proposal from NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong called the Time to Care Act – a bill to improve long-term care in Ontario. This bill would set out a minimum level of care in long-term care facilities at 4.1 hours of one-on-one support per resident, per day. There is no doubt that this legislation would have saved lives, had it have already been in place at the onset of COVID-19 in Ontario.
We need to pass it now.