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Coronavirus: Doug Ford encourages everyone who visited crowded Toronto park to get tested

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario’s Ford encourages Trinity Bellwoods Park crowds to get tested
WATCH: Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the people who went to Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday should all get tested for the novel coronavirus, as well as anyone who has been in large gatherings recently.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is encouraging everyone who visited a crowded Toronto park over the weekend to get tested for the novel coronavirus.

“I’m disappointed, to say the least, with everyone that showed up to Trinity Bellwoods on Saturday,” Ford said during his press conference Monday.

“Why don’t you do us all a favour and go get tested now? Go to a local hospital assessment centre and get tested. And I encourage anyone who’s been in any large gatherings like that … they need to get tested. That’s what I would recommend.”

READ MORE: Mayor apologizes for ‘mistakes’ made during visit to crowded Toronto park

Thousands of people showed up at Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday in apparent defiance of physical-distancing regulations.

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The gatherings drew sharp criticism from officials, who said scenes like that could cause a setback in the fight against COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus

“These are smart young people that were there — like, come on guys. Give me a break,” Ford said.

“Don’t do reckless things like that.”

Testing not currently recommended by health officials

Despite Ford’s comments, the province’s associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said testing is not currently being recommended for everyone who attended the park.

“It is disappointing that people did congregate in that park,” she said. “What we would advise is for people to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for a period of 14 days.”

Yaffe said they should avoid seeing people who have a higher risk of developing severe coronavirus symptoms, like elderly individuals or very young children.

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“If they’re very concerned, they can go for testing, but we’re not recommending they all go for testing at this point,” Yaffe said.

Toronto’s medical officer of health reiterated that advice in a separate press conference Monday afternoon.

Ford, meanwhile, said he’s worried that people who went to the park could have transmitted the virus to family members once they returned home.

“Weren’t they thinking of them when they went there?” Ford asked.

As testing requirements were eased on Sunday, Ford said anyone who wants to be tested for the novel coronavirus in the province is now able to do so.