daily: Friday, March 27

Province aims to cut COVID-19 test backlog
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Mar 27, 2020
(Dominic Chan/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Medical supplies in high demand

Hospitals across the province are coping with limited medical supplies, specifically personal protective equipment such as masks and gowns. According to CTV News Ottawa, staff at Ottawa’s largest hospital say that masks are being rationed, with only two available per staff member per shift. In Toronto, Global News reports, nurses are complaining of rationing and a “massive shortage” of equipment. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province has an “adequate supply” of equipment, with more on the way.

Province aims to cut testing backlog

In a media teleconference yesterday, Public Health Ontario said it hopes to have Ontario’s COVID-19 testing backlog eliminated by early next week. As of Thursday morning, that backlog was about 11,000 tests. Public health officials say they are partnering with hospital laboratories and privately-owned labs and expect to be able to increase testing capacity to 18,900 tests per day by April 17. On Monday, Premier Doug Ford said that a shortage of the substance reagent — necessary for chemical analysis — is largely responsible for the backlog.

Ontario update

As of Thursday evening, Ontario had 858 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Public health officials said the tally includes 15 fatalities as well as nine people whose cases are resolved. Results are pending from another 10,965 tests.

Every day, we will publish a collection of news items from across the province about the pandemic. Please visit for the latest. Here is Thursday evening’s roundup.

Watch now

The Agenda: Covering sports in a pandemic

What do sports journalists do when all the games are cancelled? Steve Paikin talks to Michael Landsberg, co-host of TSN Radio’s First Up; Carly Agro, anchor and reporter on Sportsnet TV; and William Lou, the lead Raptors reporter for Yahoo Canada.

Brilliant Ideas: The Playful Public Art of Luke Jerram

Have you ever seen a piano, free to play, in a public park? How about at a bus stop? If so, you’ve likely come across the work of artist Luke Jerram, whose whimsical installation “Play Me, I’m Yours” has visited cities around the world. His creations include performance art and intricate glass sculpture.

Listen now

#onpoli: Ep. 12 – Booze, rent, and the Quarantine Act 

The provincial government is going to let restaurants sell beer and wine for takeout and delivery — a move meant to help eateries that are suffering major losses because of the pandemic. Podcast hosts Steve Paikin and John Michael McGrath discuss the announcement and look at how the province is trying to ramp up COVID-19 testing. Also, how does the federal government plan to force travellers to stay in their homes when they return to Canada? 

Read now

On the job during COVID-19, part 1: The grocery-store clerk

Columnist Matt Gurney is interviewing the front-line personnel we don’t often hear from, the ones allowing the rest of us to stay protected from COVID-19. In this instalment, a grocery-store clerk discusses the challenges of providing a safe place for people to shop.

How Doug Ford passed the test that Justin Trudeau failed

Doug Ford Rod Phillips
(Frank Gunn/CP)

Ontario’s COVID-19 recovery measures passed speedily at Queen’s Park this week. As political columnist John Michael McGrath writes, “Liberals are going to hate to hear it, but they need to: Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford faced the same test this week, and the former was the one who failed badly.”

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Olympic dreams postponed

Athletes have dedicated their lives to training for the 2020 Olympic Games, which are now postponed. The Agenda welcomes Marnie McBean, an Olympic gold medallist in rowing, and Skylar Park, who qualified for the 2020 Games in taekwondo.

9 p.m. — The Secret History of the British Garden: The 20th Century

Monty Don concludes his journey through Britain's gardening heritage by looking at the evolution of the nation's gardens over the past hundred years. He examines the profound effect that two world wars had on attitudes toward gardens and gardening.

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