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Ontario slow to respond to COVID-19: auditor

Ontario's auditor general says the province was slower to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic than other provinces. The report says Ontario’s response featured "delays and confusion in decision-making". Bonnie Lysyk says outdated provincial emergency plans played a role in slowing down the response. She says the province's chief medical officer of health did not fully exercise his powers to keep things consistent in all regions. She also blames old IT systems. The auditor said these issues didn’t have to happen . She said they would’ve been avoidable if the province acted on lessons learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak. She said lab testing is still a manual, paper-based process. And streamlining management of 34 public health systems would've helped with sharing best practices. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the report is a "disappointment" and "mischaracterization of the province's pandemic response". She says Ontario was the first province to designate COVID-19 as a publicly reportable infectious disease and has the lowest active case rate of any province outside of Atlantic Canada
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