Hon. Christine Elliott
Minister of Health
438 University Ave, 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2K8
Dear Minister Elliott,
I’m writing in response to our exchange in Question Period on November 19, 2020.
Earlier this week, Scarborough residents were dismayed to discover that roughly 14% of tests at Scarborough’s 3 assessment centres come back positive – which is triple the provincial average of under 5% positivity. There are suspected or confirmed outbreaks in 13 Scarborough long term care homes. Scarborough’s 3 hospitals are treating nearly a quarter of all hospitalized patients in Toronto and Peel. A high number of schools in Scarborough are in outbreak. I am confident in the team at Scarborough Health Network that they are doing all that they can to support the community in the fight against COVID-19.
While the news is serious, it does not come as a surprise: Scarborough has long been a COVID-19 hotspot since the start of the pandemic. The communities that are hardest hit often feature dense, multi-generational households with members who are essential workers and face higher risks of contracting COVID-19 with few options for self-isolation especially for families.
I would like to formally request that the Ministry of Health work with the federal government or use the Safe Restart funds already provided by the federal government to open an isolation centre suitable for families in the Scarborough community, to help residents including families to self-isolate and stop the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario.
I would also like to request that the Ministry open more permanent or semi-permanent assessment centres in Scarborough, as access to assessment centres is limited for North and East Scarborough residents which report some of the lowest testing rates in the city. These testing sites require support from the province for outreach and follow up for contact tracing. Residents in these areas are often reliant on transit which underserves the area and which poses a safety concern for vulnerable residents.
I thank you for your response to my question and am available for any assistance on this file.