September 16th, 2020

Eight-hour waits for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa region shows Ford’s failure

QUEEN’S PARK – Doug Ford’s failure to plan for a second-wave of COVID-19 is leaving people in the Ottawa region to deal with hours long line-ups —up to eight hours in Nepean, Minister Lisa MacLeod’s own riding.

“This morning I spoke to a resident whose son and partner need to be tested for COVID-19. He told me the lineup for testing in Ottawa Centre yesterday is over four hours long,” said NDP MPP Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre). “This morning when I spoke to his son, I learned that the wait time today is over eight hours long and getting longer at the Moodie Drive facility in Nepean, Minister Lisa MacLeod’s riding.

“No one should have to suffer through that kind of a wait, especially if they’re not feeling well. For families with little ones, the elderly and folks with disabilities, these long waits may be impossible, or even dangerous.”

Despite months of criticism for testing too few people daily since the pandemic began, the Ford government is failing to ramp up COVID-19 testing to meet the growing demand, and refusing to provide additional funding and staff to public health units. New Democrats are calling on the Ford government to open more COVID-19 testing sites right away as more than two million students and staff head back to school — including mobile testing units.

“The first person in today’s lineup arrived at 4:30 a.m.,” said Harden. “People are parking over a kilometre away and standing in massive lineups many with little kids. It is a nightmare. A lot of people are just driving up and leaving when they see the line, and I can’t imagine how much worse our COVID-19 spread will be if people who need a test cannot get one.

“This is happening in Minister Lisa MacLeod’s own riding. People in the Ottawa region and across the province need Doug Ford to stop just talking about problems he allowed to grow, and start fixing them.”