Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy
A city-wide outbreak of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — that’s hitting Toronto hospitals is creating uncertainty and upheaval for city hall in a time of crisis.
Toronto Public Health told the Star it’s not clear how many people have contracted the virus in the city’s hospitals, which are the subject of heightened scrutiny after two patients who’d tested positive were rushed to hospital without being tested.
“There’s no way to know if it’s out there; it’s out there,” said Ron Lee, Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair and director of Toronto’s COVID-19 surveillance task force.
“It’s very concerning. We have to make sure we don’t miss anything. And right now, we’re not 100 per cent sure.”
There are now nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in hospitals in Ontario, a week after the province’s chief public health officer said the outbreak was under control.
“It’s a bit of a concern for us,” said Dr. David Johnson, director of Ontario’s public health agency. “Our biggest concern right now is getting them tested.”
A city report says the number of hospital staff members who have contracted COVID-19, but have symptoms, has been on the rise in recent weeks.
“We are seeing more and more people coming in to our hospitals who are not at risk of contracting COVID-19. While we cannot definitively tell if that person is COVID-19 positive or not, we also cannot definitively tell if they also have symptoms of the virus,” Dr. Johnson told the Star.
“You have patients who are very sick, and you have a health care worker who has the same symptoms that they do, and we would like them to be able to go home and get better, but unfortunately for those cases we are very limited in terms of what we can do,” he said.
“We’re trying to stay up with people who are at higher risk and those who are coming in without any risk factor, but there is