TORONTO — Today, Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued the following statement recognizing the tremendous efforts and sacrifices made by all essential workers during the COVID-19 outbreak in Ontario:
"The people of Ontario have faced many extraordinary challenges since COVID-19 swept across the province this past March. We want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for your courage, compassion and generosity. On behalf of everyone in the province and the Ontario government we would like to thank the heroes who go to work each day to keep our essential services and businesses available during the COVID-19 outbreak.
From the doctors, nurses, personal support workers and pharmacists who are caring and providing for our sick; to the police, firefighters and paramedics who are keeping us safe; to the farmers, food processors, truck drivers and grocery store staff who are keeping food on our tables — thank you!
To those who are keeping our lights on, keeping our water clean and safe, and to those keeping our buses and trains operating — thank you!
From the early days of the pandemic, Ontario's essential workers have been at the forefront of our response, working day and night and spending countless hours away from their families and loved ones to keep us safe, while putting themselves at risk.You make us proud.
As we continue to fight the second wave, we need to remain vigilant. Hospitalizations have increased by 74 per cent over the past four weeks, with an 80 per cent increase in ICU admissions, putting the scheduling of routine and non-urgent surgeries at risk. The situation in our hospitals is serious and a reflection of the growing spread of COVID-19 in our communities. We need to halt the virus in its tracks to protect our loved ones, our vulnerable, our communities, and the essential workers whose dedication and sacrifice has never waivered.
We know that people are making tremendous sacrifices, especially during this holiday season, but there is a light at the end of this very long tunnel. We are hopeful. This week we achieved another major milestone in our three-phase vaccine implementation plan by rolling out 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses to 19 hospital sites across the province. In addition, Health Canada just approved the new Moderna vaccine for use in Canada and we expect to receive 53,000 doses by the end of the month.
We are making steady progress, but there is still a long way to go. Until the vaccines are widely available, please remember we all must continue to follow public health advice and measures in order to protect our health system and our heroic essential workers.
Although the holidays are different this year, please take some quality time to celebrate safely with those you live with. And of course, reach out and celebrate virtually with everyone else. Please stay home as much as possible and together we will eradicate this virus. Please know that your actions matter and will help to keep our province safe and healthy.
Merry Christmas, and happy holidays."