Coronavirus: Premier Doug Ford says Ontario will release COVID-19 projection numbers on Friday

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott exit the daily briefing at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday March 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

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Premier Doug Ford says he has instructed Ontario health officials to release their projection numbers on where the province is headed amid the coronavirus pandemic on Friday.

In an update, the Ontario government said modelling numbers will be released at 12:30 p.m. Friday by health officials. Ford will then answer questions at 1:30 p.m.

“They’re going to tell the public exactly what they’re telling me and it’s going to be very clear where we were, where we are now and where we could be if we don’t follow the chief medical officer’s protocol,” Ford said Thursday afternoon in a press conference at Queen’s Park.

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The Premier said they are releasing the numbers on Friday rather than earlier because they now have a “better sense” of numbers now that people have returned from travelling, among other things.

“We have to be fully transparent with the people of Ontario, no matter how hard it will be,” he said, adding he hopes the people that “packed” the beaches and parks last weekend won’t be doing so again once they hear the projections.

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Ford said Ontario is the first government who will be releasing such numbers. The Premier said he is doing this because he wants to be as honest and upfront with Ontarians as much as possible.

The Premier said he couldn’t “comprehend” why people weren’t listening to social distancing protocol.

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“They make think ‘it’s not going to happen to me.’ Well, it can happen to anyone, anyone in the world,” Ford said. “Not only doing that is unsafe — you can say selfish — because God forbid they get COVID-19 and all of a sudden they’re touching items that people go by and touch and then it spreads rapidly.”

“It’s disappointing to say the least.”

When asked if he was “breaking rank” due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refusing to release such numbers to the country, Ford said he is not.

“In no way would I break rank with any other Premiers or the Prime Minister,” he said, adding he’s responsible for the people of Ontario.

As of Friday, Ontario has 3,255 cases of coronavirus cases and 67 deaths.

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