January 14th, 2022

Ford’s PCR testing cuts, delays are having serious consequences: NDP’s Begum

Health care worker says testing delays are keeping her away from work

SCARBOROUGH — Doly Begum, NDP MPP for Scarborough Southwest, says Doug Ford’s COVID testing cuts and delays are having serious consequences in her community, and she’s urging the government to ramp up testing. For frontline health care workers like Janet Stokes, testing delays are keeping them out of work, despite being desperately needed.

“People are trying to do everything right to protect their community — but since the Ford Government cut off testing, it can be tough to know when to isolate from family and others,” said Begum. “And the frontline workers who are still able to get a publicly funded COVID PCR test aren’t faring much better because they’re waiting a week or more for results. These delays are hurting care.”

Janet Stokes, a personal support worker who cares for seniors in Scarborough, has been waiting over seven days for her PCR test results. And that’s on top of the days it took her to find a PCR test following an exposure to COVID-19.

“I am a health care provider sitting at home waiting for my PCR results, without which I cannot return to work,” said Stokes. “There are seniors who depend on me who now feel abandoned by their caregiver, simply because of the testing guidelines the Ford government has put into place. Health care provider tests should be expedited and prioritized. There is no reason I should be sitting at home without any confirmation about my health or my work.”

Begum is advocating for people like Janet, who live or work in Scarborough and beyond and are fed up with being left behind by the Ford government’s big cuts and bad choices.

“What Janet is going through is hurting not only her, but the seniors she cares for, and she is not alone in her struggle to access timely testing and results,” said Begum. “Access to basic health care resources like COVID-19 tests not only allows people to take the necessary precautions to protect their health, it also curbs community spread. That’s why I have written to the Minister of Health requesting urgent access to rapid tests, an immediate ramp up of testing, and more access for more people, including families right here in Scarborough.”

This isn’t the first time Scarborough has been left out of COVID-19 testing. When the government distributed a limited quantity of Rapid Antigen Tests in December, few to no pick-up sites were located in Scarborough Southwest.