Another testing promise: Ford says random testing plan coming next week

Virus Testing

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says a plan to begin broader and random testing in the province should be coming next week, despite the province currently struggling to meet its current daily testing capacity.

"I'm no medical expert, I've said it a thousand times, but until we do that, we can't get our hands around the whole system," Ford said Thursday. 

While the current capacity is around 20,000 tests a day, the two most recent daily tallies were 10,500 and 7,382, though they do come after a long weekend. 

When asked if the plan by his health table will include target dates, he said it would. 

"Let's go to the trucking association that's been begging to get tested, let's go covering every Uber, every taxi driver, every limousine driver, let's get them tested, let's go into the food manufacturing facilities," he said, adding other sectors would include the automotive sector, manufacturing and other asymptomatic Ontarians. 

But Ford continued to face questions over his promise that testing would increase, after making the same claims previously. 

The Ontario NDP issued a collection of statements dating back to April 8th, including when he said "we have the testing capabilities right now, and we have the reagent. So there are no more excuses. We need to get it done, bottom line." 

The premier acknowledged the gap and expressed his frustration once again with the level of testing, but promised that numbers would increase.

"It's frustrating, believe me it's frustrating, but in saying that, I do have confidence," he said about this provincial health table. "That's what I want and that's what we're going to get to." 

"I'll be like an 800-pound gorilla on their backs every single day if I have to until I see these numbers go up." 

Toronto city councillor and Chair of the Toronto Board of Health Joe Cressy said on social media following the news conference that the province has to get to testing vulnerable populations and the general public. 

"It is the Province of Ontario that is responsible for testing. Public Health Ontario oversees the lab system and the Ministry of Health sets the guidelines and criteria for who gets tested. If they want to test more, they can," he said.