Ontario's health minister says the flu season will be bad this year

Ontario health minister says ending ‘hallway health care’ will take longer than Ford promised last week

Ontario health minister says ending ‘hallway health care’ will take longer than Ford promised last week

Christine Elliott says officials have been looking at Australia's flu season, and based on what that country is experiencing this year, it will likely be a "very difficult" flu season here.

"We will be advertising to people that we want them to get out and get the flu shot and deal with some of the myths out there about getting the flu vaccine because. the anti-vaxer theory is out there as well as far as the flu vaccine is concerned, too".

The government needs to build more long-term care spaces, improve access to addictions and mental-health treatment, and address hospital patient flows, she said.

"I can't put a specific time line on it", Elliott said Monday as she faced questions about the comments by her boss that left critics skeptical.

"We expect that it's going to be a very hard year", Elliott said Monday.

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Ford made the hallway pledge last Thursday at the Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon, setting a deadline on the vow he made in the 2018 election campaign that vaulted his Progressive Conservatives to power for the first time in nearly 15 years. "As we stand right now we're down to 1,000 patients in the hallways, but I can assure the people of Ontario, over the next year we won't have anyone in the hallways there". We're way, way short relative to (other provinces) in terms of beds.

"To end hallway medicine we would need to open a significant number of acute care beds, a significant number of chronic care beds", she said.

Researchers reported early this year that the previous flu season's vaccine appeared to be highly effective.

The province is also developing a plan to provide care in hospitals, in community settings and in the homes of those who come down with the flu, she said.

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