Ford announces Civic Campus expansion and defends Covid-19 reopening.

Today Premier Doug Ford was in Ottawa to announce upgrades to the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus, flanked by Deputy Premier Christine Elliot and Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma, Mayor Jim Watson, and Ottawa Hospital President Cameron Love.

Ford complimented Ottawa Hospital staff for their professionalism in conducting day-to-day operations during the Covid pandemic. The Premier then stated that the Progressive Conservative government is trying to better prepare for the future, adding “thousands of hospital and long-term care beds” to the province's overall health infrastructure.

Premier Ford said that the government could do more to build a more robust, more resilient health care system. He then announced a $29.1 million investment into a new state-of-the-art Civic Campus at the Ottawa Hospital.

According to Ford, this is one of the most significant planning grants in the province's history. It will ensure that the Ottawa Hospital will meet the needs of the growing Ottawa community for decades to come while also improving the quality of healthcare in the region. The Premier stated that this upgrade had been desperately needed for decades.

The new Civic Campus will include a “cutting edge” trauma centre, a more extensive emergency centre, a surgery suite, over 300 new beds, and a rehabilitation centre for patients.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2024 on the project that aims to fix one of the issues in Ontario’s health care system. As the Premier said, let’s “end hallway healthcare once and for all.”

During the question portion of the press conference, the Premier was asked mainly about the pandemic. When asked about the rising Covid-19 wastewater levels in the city, the Premier stated he will always follow the advice of Dr. Kieran Moore, chief medical officer for the province.

Ford explained that Ontario is receiving a large shipment of anti-viral pills that, combined with widespread vaccination, will put the province in a favourable position against the continued threat of Covid. But he said he would continue to be prudent, stating, “we will continue to move forward in a very cautious way.”

When reporters questioned if the government reopened too quickly, the Premier noted that Ontario was one of the last sub-state areas in North America to drop the mask mandates. The rest of the country, excluding P.E.I, has dropped masking mandates.

Minister of Health Christine Elliott stepped in to say that Ontario has administered 32 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and that protection is generally present. Dr. Moore explained that even though there are currently higher Covid levels in the wastewater, there is the capability to take care of the sick, and the viral surge is not surprising.

The Premier re-stated that caution is his priority and that he is not considering further lockdowns or restrictions. The soon-to-be-available anti-viral pill will likely cut down on the need for hospitalization due to Covid in the province.

Watch the entire conference here: