The Province of Ontario must immediately ramp up testing and contact tracing to ensure safety and create jobs, says CUPE Ontario.
Today, Ontario reported the third straight day of increasing daily cases of COVID-19 and the fifth straight day of falling short of its daily testing goal of 16,000. The province’s capacity is 20,000.
This comes on the heels of the province announcing the first phase of reopening.
“Without adequate testing and contact tracing, we’ll see more cases of COVID 19 in our communities and we won’t be able to contain its spread,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “We need more than just words from Premier Ford. The provincial government must immediately increase funding for local public health authorities and municipalities and support them in their role of leading this critical work on the ground in our communities.”
Doing so would also have the benefit of creating jobs, both in recalling those front-line municipal workers who have been laid off, and for Ontarians who can be recruited to do contact tracing, according to CUPE Ontario.
With recent reports about the province being unable to account for two-thirds of cases, with many likely being the result of community spread, the need for widespread contact tracing is greater than ever. Other provinces, like British Columbia and Alberta, have been able to collect information missing in Ontario with the practice, allowing them to contain the virus better and more safely ease lockdown measures.
“We can’t keep lagging behind other regions. We need to immediately invest in recruiting and training people to keep all of us safe,” said Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario’s Secretary-Treasurer.