QUEEN’S PARK — With child care centres and schools a dominating source of COVID-19 outbreaks in Ontario’s hot spots according to data released Thursday, Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is urging the Ford government to do more to stop the second wave by shrinking class sizes. Instead, Doug Ford has only being doing things that are cost-free for the government.
Ontario’s updated COVID-19 modeling, released yesterday, reveals that schools and daycares are the biggest source of COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa and Toronto since Aug. 1. In Ottawa, there have been 74 outbreaks in schools and daycares, accounting for 39 per cent of outbreaks. In Toronto there have been 45 outbreaks in schools and daycares, representing 22 per cent of outbreaks.
“Doug Ford is not doing what’s best to stop the spread of COVID-19 because he doesn’t want to spend the money,” said Horwath. “Despite schools and daycares being the biggest source of outbreaks, he refused to put smaller, safer classes in place because he wanted to keep sitting on COVID-19 funding, instead of spending it. Restrictions on restaurants and bars should have come with direct financial supports for restaurant owners, but it didn’t because Ford will only take actions that are low-cost for the government.
“Parents’ fears about the safety of their little ones in crowded classrooms and daycare centres are coming true as these places become breeding grounds for COVID-19 outbreaks. This just confirms that Doug Ford only did what wouldn’t cost any money, doing the bare minimum to save a buck.”
As of Friday, at least 2,159 students, teachers and education workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
In Peel, schools and daycares are second only to industrial settings as the top source of COVID-19 outbreaks, with 17 outbreaks in schools and daycares making up 20 per cent of outbreaks.
“Families with kids in daycare and school deserve better,” said Horwath. “If I were premier, I would be capping class sizes at 15 to allow for physical distancing and hiring thousands of teachers to staff them. Not only for the safety of our children – which should be our top priority – but also because the data shows that’s a key to stopping the spread everywhere.”
Sources of outbreaks in the hottest regions was released by provincial officials on Oct. 29.
The top source of outbreaks by region currently in Stage 2 are:
- Ottawa: Schools and Daycares (39 per cent); LTC and Retirement Homes (33 per cent)
- Toronto: Schools and Daycares (22 per cent); LTC and Retirement Homes (18 per cent)
- Peel: Industrial Settings (22 per cent); Schools and Daycares (20 per cent)
- York: Other (22 per cent); Industrial Settings (19 per cent); LTC and Retirement Homes (17 per cent); Schools and Daycares (10 per cent)