Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario, 2892 health care workers have been infected with COVID-19. Those on the health care front lines now account for 15.8 per cent of the province’s COVID cases. The number is trending up, not down. Four of them have died.
On Wednesday (May 6), hospital, long-term care and home care nurses, personal support workers (PSWs), cleaners and administrative staff represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will again rise in their workplace and take part in a workplace action, protesting the lack of protections and calling on the Premier for help.
Also on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., via a ZOOM media conference, CUPE Ontario and CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) will talk about the fear and anxiety on the front lines as the province continues to ignore that protections based on the precautionary principle that assumes some airborne COVID transmission are needed to stop the spread of the virus. They will also raise concerns about how health care worker infections are being reported and what appears to be a concerted denial of COVID-related WSIB claims.
The protest comes as the Ontario government is gearing up to partially lift the lockdown, resume surgeries and re-open some businesses. However, the long-promised masks, particularly N95s and other personal protective equipment (PPE) have not arrived. Supplies are dangerously low in hospitals and long-term care homes where 1,003 residents have sadly died. Ontario faces this protective equipment shortage and yet the government has not ordered industry to manufacture the needed supplies.