Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy
Toronto Public Health Vice-Chair Annett Lien is calling on the city to reconsider its COVID-19 policy and rethink the strategy for dealing with the virus.
“We should be working to protect our most vulnerable, and instead of focusing on people who have it, we need to be supporting the health-care system and ensuring that we don’t lose anyone,” says Lien, who co-chairs the Working Committee on Infectious Disease.
“I’m actually in favour of it. But there are a lot of people who have COVID-19 and they don’t have health insurance or they don’t have healthcare. And we need to make sure that people who have health insurance are well supported in making decisions about whether they want to be tested.”
In other words, Lien says she can’t think of a time when the city should not have had some sort of emergency plan in place for how to deal with a new and unknown virus.
The city, of course, has been criticized for not having an emergency plan in place, including then-mayor Rob Ford who claimed the city didn’t need one because the city had the capacity to deal with a pandemic.
So while the city has not made public any new policies in particular, Lien says she has worked with the city and has spoken with the Ontario Public Health Association on the issue.
“We’ve talked to (the Public Health Association) about how we can make sure that we have an emergency plan in place, and we’ve talked to the city about how we can look at the issue in a more comprehensive way and work on it together as a community,” she says.
Lien says she’s made it clear to Ford that she’s not opposed to having a pandemic plan in place. Instead, she doesn’t want to see it implemented as a decision left up to municipal governments.
“I’d put that on a much more robust basis,” says Lien. “What