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‘I never refuse help’: Ontario Premier Doug Ford says Premier has offered to send military personnel to Ontario long-term care homes

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Premier Doug Ford said the premier had offered to send military personnel to help operate some of the province’s long-term care homes hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prime minister, who made the comments at a press conference in Queens Park on Wednesday, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the offer in a phone call earlier today. Ford has not confirmed plans to send members of the Canadian Armed Forces to any long-term care home in the province.

I just phoned the Prime Minister before coming here about an hour ago and he suggested that. Well take all the help we can get. I never refuse help. If it’s the army, if it’s the Red Cross, if it’s someone, Ford told reporters.

When asked for details of a possible plan to dispatch the military, Ford reiterated that he never, ever refused help.

He offered all the help we need to get long term care. We are working together, he said.

Asked by a third reporter about details of a possible military deployment, Ford said he left it up to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care to decide.

I just hung up the phone with the Prime Minister an hour ago, he said. I’ll leave that to health and long-term care to see when they can get in if that’s needed and (in) my opinion some homes are needed, Ford said.

At the start of last week, the prime minister told reporters his government reached out to the province to offer targeted help to bring COVID-19 outbreaks under control in long-term care.

“We have already lost too many seniors in long-term care. The tragedies of spring must not be repeated. As we have been doing since March, our government is there to help the provinces bring the situation under control in their jurisdictions ”. Trudeau said last Tuesday.

“We have already contacted the Government of Ontario and are ready to provide additional targeted assistance.”

He also said he would discuss the topic with all prime ministers across the country at the prime ministers meeting last Thursday.

Just like when we first deployed the armed forces and the Red Cross in Wave 1, our top priority is ensuring people’s safety. I will be discussing long-term care homes with all the premiers on Thursday. “

Ford did not say if he spoke with the premier last week about sending the military to some Ontario long-term homes struggling to contain epidemics.

In a statement released shortly after Wednesday’s press conference, the Prime Minister’s Office thanked Ottawa for its “continued support throughout the pandemic.”

“The support we requested and are currently receiving includes military field hospitals, military logistics advisers to support vaccine deployment, including in long-term care, and Red Cross teams in some. long-term care homes across Ontario, ”the statement read.

“We will continue to work with the federal government and if additional support is needed, we will ask for it.

Several hundred nurses and other Canadian Forces personnel were dispatched to seven severely affected long-term care homes in the Greater Toronto Area during the first wave, revealing excruciating neglect and insufficient care of residents in certain circumstances.

Nearly 40% of long-term care homes in the province are currently facing active outbreaks of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Since the start of the pandemic, 3,063 residents have died after contracting COVID-19, and as of January 1, more than 200 long-term care residents have died after being infected with the disease.

The province has announced that it plans to inoculate all residents of Ontario’s long-term care facilities with at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by February 15.

Vaccinations are the best way to provide this iron ring, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said at Wednesday’s press conference.

But new provincial modeling released on Tuesday said that despite efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to all long-term care homes in the province as soon as possible, in the worst-case scenario virus-related deaths among residents of long-term care during the second wave of the pandemic could reach a total of more than 2,600 by February 14, exceeding the 1,815 deaths recorded in the first wave.

The provincial government has announced plans to vaccinate all residents of long-term care facilities in Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Windsor-Essex County, areas of the province with the highest rates. high COVID-19 infection, by January 21.

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