Time to call in the military to help Ontario hospitals: Del Duca

Hospitals are caring for 2,081 COVID-19 patients, including 288 in intensive care

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The Doug Ford government should call in the military to assist with severe staffing shortages at hospitals, Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says.

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Ontario hospitals are struggling to meet growing patient demand with staff members isolating due to COVID-19.

“We believe that it’s so important for Doug Ford to pick up the phone and to call (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) and reach out to the federal government to seek support and help from Canada’s military to come into Ontario to help deal with the challenges that we have in both nursing homes and hospitals,” Del Duca said Wednesday.

“We saw over the last few days that our next door neighbours in Quebec reached out and asked for military help with the vaccine rollout and they received it.”

Ontario previously brought in military assistance when early waves of the pandemic devastated many nursing homes.

Del Duca accused the Ford government of ignoring the advice from frontline health-care workers and scientists that might have prevented the current situation that has forced hospitals to delay 8,000 to 10,000 non-emergency surgeries a week.

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The Ontario Liberals also called on the premier to recall the legislature to repeal Bill 124, which caps public sector wages, expedite the process to allow internally-educated nurses work in the province, and remove administrative barriers that make it difficult to move hospital staff to other overwhelmed facilities.

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Ontario reported 11,582 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, although that figure is believed to vastly underrepresent actual case numbers due to widespread community transmission of the Omicron variant and testing priorities and limits.

The province recorded another 14 COVID-related deaths.

Hospitals were caring for 2,081 COVID-19 patients, including 288 in intensive care and 138 on ventilators.

In an update on nursing homes, the province reported 571 cases of COVID-19 in residents and 1,027 cases in staff.

There are 54 nursing homes currently in outbreak with no resident cases.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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