September 24th Weekly Update

Published on September 25, 2020

 

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Dear Neighbour, 

This week, the Ontario Government announced significant pillars of the COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan. Some highlights from the plan include:
  • $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management, including:
    • More Testing Locations: Working with Ontario Health, local public health units and hospitals, Ontario will expand testing locations based on local needs to provide Ontarians with more access to testing and reduce testing wait times. This will include adding more testing locations such as primary care offices, at-home testing for certain home and community care clients, and starting on Friday, September 25, 2020, in participating pharmacies.
    • More Testing Options: Ontario will ensure health professionals can provide more people with timely and convenient tests by expanding the methods for COVID-19 testing. Less invasive collection methods, such as throat, nasal swabbing and saliva collection will now be used in addition to nasopharyngeal swabs to test for COVID-19. Starting this week, three Toronto hospitals are offering saliva collection, with more assessment centres offering this option in the coming weeks. The province continues to review innovative technologies, such as rapid and point of care tests, to ensure Ontarians have access to leading and faster testing options.
    • More Testing Capacity: Ontario will continue to expand the capacity of the provincial lab network so more tests can be processed and testing targets can be achieved. This includes hiring more lab staff and professional staff and improving data quality through digitizing requisition forms and other automated features. As a first step, the province will increase testing capacity to conduct up to 50,000 daily tests.
    • More Case and Contact Managers: Ontario will continue to add case and contact management staff to prevent the spread of the virus. There are currently more than 2,750 case and contact management staff active across all public health units tracing and managing COVID-19 cases, up from approximately 1,500 staff in the spring. An additional 500 Statistics Canada employees are being onboarded this month to assist with contact management and Ontario is hiring an additional 500 contact tracers. In total, there will be more than 3,750 case and contact management staff working to keep Ontarians safe.
    • Better Health Behaviour Information: Ontario will conduct health behaviour surveillance to track adherence to public health measures across Ontario and to help understand how to better communicate the importance and benefit of continuing to follow public health measures.
  • $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province's long-term care homes, retirement homes and schools.
  • $70 million to purchase 5.1 million flu vaccines to deliver a robust and expanded campaign to ensure our hospitals are not pressured

Our best defence against COVID-19 is still to follow all public health measures like practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks and staying home when ill even with mild symptoms, so we can stop the spread.

In support of these efforts, the province has also released new testing guidance to help focus public resources on where they are needed the most.

As the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed, the province must also adapt its approach to testing. With the upcoming flu and cold season approaching, we need to ensure Ontario's publicly-funded testing resources are available for those who need them the most, such as school children and others with symptoms of COVID-19.

Effective immediately, Ontarians should only seek testing at assessment centres if you are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit; and
  • Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Starting on September 25, you can get tested for COVID-19 at select pharmacies if you are not showing symptoms and eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

As Ontario continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, Ontario's Testing Strategy Expert Panel and Public Health Ontario will continue to actively review testing guidelines. 

My second children's drawing contest continues! All drawings will be displayed once again in my constituency office, with some displayed in my 2021 Calendar!

You can submit original drawings by mail at 2882 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6B 3S6. Please ensure that the contact information including the address and the artist's first name is sent in the mail. The deadline to submit drawings is November 15th, 2020. 
My constituency office continues to be open by appointment only. If you are in need of any assistance, you can make an appointment by calling my constituency office at (416) 781-2395 or email me at robin.martin@pc.ola.org.
 
Stay safe, stay healthy, 
Robin Martin, MPP
Eglinton-Lawrence

(416) 781-2395 - robin.martin@pc.ola.org
 
Think you have COVID-19 Symptoms or have been in close contact with some who does? Click here for a self-assessment.
COVID-19 Assessment Centres in Ontario
Available Supports for Individuals and Businesses
For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information from the Government of Ontario visit ontario.ca/coronavirus
 
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