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Doug Ford defends Moore over lack of public appearances as Ontario weathers 6th COVID wave

Click to play video: 'Ontario’s premier Ford denies he’s downplaying any perceived resurgence of COVID-19, says province doing ‘fairly well’'
Ontario’s premier Ford denies he’s downplaying any perceived resurgence of COVID-19, says province doing ‘fairly well’
WATCH: Ontario's premier Ford denies he's downplaying any perceived resurgence of COVID-19, says province doing 'fairly well' – Apr 6, 2022

Ontario Premier Doug Ford defended the province’s chief medical officer of health, as calls mount for Dr. Kieran Moore to address the public over the latest wave of COVID-19.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Ford said Moore is “one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.”

“He never rests, he works around the clock for the people of Ontario,” he said. “And yesterday he had a meeting with all public health officers throughout the province.”

Ford said Moore is “on the job 24/7.”

“[He’s] looking at figures, looking at the states and giving myself and our cabinet advice,” he said, adding that Moore has “done an incredible job from day one.”
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“I am his biggest fan,” Ford continued.

Read more: No need to reimpose mask mandate despite increasing COVID figures: Ontario health minister

Moore had been providing the public with weekly updates regarding the COVID-19 situation in the province. But, those briefings were suspended last month as the pandemic situation appeared to be improving in Ontario.

However, with experts now warning the province is experiencing the sixth wave of the pandemic, calls have grown for Moore to once again address the public.

Click to play video: 'Ontario reveals some details of fourth dose strategy while defending 6th wave response'
Ontario reveals some details of fourth dose strategy while defending 6th wave response

Ontario’s Health Minster Christine Elliott was also why Moore has not done interviews with media since he stopped the regular briefings in March.

“That was Dr. Moore’s choice,” Elliott told reporters during a separate press conference on Tuesday.

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“He felt that we were at the point now with the pandemic that we have the tools that we need to to learn to live with it and so that frequent representations and meetings with him aren’t necessary…. If he feels that the situation changes and he wants to come back and do more frequent interviews and meetings, then he’s certainly free to do so.”

Elliott said people “want to carry on with their lives.”

“We want to continue to open up our economy, and that’s what we need to focus our attention to,” she said.

Read more: Ontario heading into another COVID-19 wave, expert says

Ford was also asked by reporters on Wednesday if his government is “downplaying” the severity of the current COVID-19 situation in the province.

Data released on March 17 by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said the province’s wastewater signal had stopped declining and was increasing slightly. The data also showed the province’s test positivity rate had stopped declining.

On Wednesday, the province reported 1,074 people were hospitalized with the virus, with 168 in intensive care.

The premier said his government is not downplaying the severity of the pandemic, adding that he is “always going to be cautious.”

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“I’ve been accused of being the toughest leader in North America (on) restrictions,” he said. “We were last to pull restrictions in North America, probably the world.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ford says he doesn’t think Ontario removed mask mandate too quickly'
COVID-19: Ford says he doesn’t think Ontario removed mask mandate too quickly

Ford said the province has the supports in place needed to make it through this latest wave.

“We have the supports, we have the beds,” he said. “As I mentioned, we have acute care beds of 3,100,” he said.

The premier said Ontario is “doing fairly well as a province.”

The province lifted a number of COVID-19 restrictions last month, including mandatory masking in most public spaces.

Ford and Elliott have both maintained that the rise in cases was expected and that the province will continue with it’s plan to lift more restrictions later this month.

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-with files from Global News’ Ryan Rocca

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