On Tuesday afternoon, Ford announced the first pillar of the comprehensive fall preparedness plan to deal with a second wave of the virus, which will include the largest flu vaccine campaign in Canada's history.
Up to 5 million flu shot vaccines have been ordered in the province with 1.3 million being a special high dose for seniors.
The Ford government announced a major expansion of COVID-19 testing which will now be conducted in several pharmacies across the province. The six key areas of the plan are set to address the quick identification and management of COVID-19 outbreaks, accelerating efforts to reduce backlogs in the healthcare system, preparing for surges in cases, and recruiting and training healthcare workers.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said in an online posting that 68% of the new cases are in people under the age of 40. The first shipments of the flu shots should be arriving next week.
"It's easy to get a flu shot", Ford said, during a visit to a Huntsville pharmacy.
Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca criticized the staggered roll-out of the plan, saying the approach is not clear or transparent.
Ontario reports highest new coronavirus cases in over 4 months
The new cases bring the total number of schools with a reported case to 75 out of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools. Those with temperatures about 38 C will be asked to wait for 10 minutes in a designated waiting area for a re-test.
"I have to thank Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, and the independent pharmacies who have stepped up in a big way to help expand testing to more people in the province".
Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said the government spent much of the summer hearing from Ontario residents during legislative committee testimony and should have been better prepared.
In the days to come, other details of the fall preparedness plan will be rolled out.
"This is a massive plan, its very robust, it's jammed with items...if we laid it all down at once, the message isn't going to get out to the people", explained Ford. What we don't know is how bad it will be, how hard we will get hit.
The cresting cases, including 51 school-related cases in 116 schools, are part of a five-day average of new cases in Ontario averaging 422 cases, Ontario statistics show.