Ontario Marks One Year Anniversary of COVID-19 Pandemic
Today, Premier Doug Ford issued the following statement to mark the significant milestones achieved since COVID-19 was declared a Global Pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020:
“A year ago today the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic marking the start of one of the grimmest chapters in modern health history. Ontario has tragically lost more than 7,000 lives to this deadly virus. We offer our deepest condolences to the families, friends, colleagues, and all of those impacted by these tragic losses of life.
Over the past year, the vast majority of people have followed public health restrictions to stop the spread, and we recognize the extraordinary burden this has placed on individuals, families, and businesses across Ontario. And the uncertainty created by the pandemic has had a devastating impact on our collective mental health — especially that of young people who have been forced to put their lives on hold, and seniors who have had to isolate themselves from friends and family.
But this crisis has been met with incredible acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity.
Our frontline health care workers have stepped up in our hospitals, long-term care homes, and congregate settings to care for our sick and most vulnerable citizens, and our public health units have led local response efforts and worked to protect the health of our communities Businesses across the province retooled their operations to produce personal protective equipment, masks, gowns, gloves face shields and hand sanitizer to protect our essential workers. An army of volunteers came forward to help others through incredible acts of kindness like delivering meals to our seniors.
We have also seen a tremendous determination and personal sacrifice of our essential workers including our first responders who are keeping us safe, those working in the agri-food sector who are keeping food on our tables, and those operating our transit systems, our water, and energy systems to ensure we continue to receive the basic services we all count on each and every day.
Now with the approval of four vaccines in Canada, I am hopeful that this could mark the beginning of the end of COVID-19.
I can assure everyone that we have a comprehensive vaccine distribution plan and we are making steady progress. To-date, we have administered over one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines and continue to lead the country in vaccinations completed, including to the majority of residents and staff in our long-term care and retirement homes.
To get more vaccines into arms we continue to mobilize boots on the ground, members of Team Ontario. We are expanding the vaccine delivery channels to include pharmacies, primary care settings, mobile clinics and more mass vaccination clinics. Our greatest hope continues to be vaccines. If we can get a steady and predictable supply from the federal government we will begin moving into Phase Two of our COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, expanding the number of people eligible to receive a vaccine. Our overall goal is to vaccinate up to nine million Ontarians across the province between April 2021 and July 2021.
Ontarians care deeply about each other and if we all pull in the same direction together, as Team Ontario, our vaccination campaign will be a resounding success and we will save lives, I have no doubt.
Although we are making progress, variants of concern pose a serious risk. Until vaccines are widely administered, everyone needs to follow public health advice and measures to protect themselves and their loved ones. Please do not let your guard down.
I know the past year has been extremely difficult, but the people of Ontario are resilient and I am confident will get through this crisis together.”