Premier Doug Ford’s government is scrapping Ontario’s program for sampling wastewater to monitor the level of COVID-19 in the population.

The program measures how much of the virus that causes COVID-19 is circulating around the province and is run by a dozen universities and research sites, through funding from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

In a statement, a provincial official said the move will “avoid duplication” with a federal program.

“The federal government conducts wastewater surveillance across Canada and is moving to expand its sampling to additional sites in Ontario,” said Environment Ministry spokesperson Gary Wheeler in an email to CBC News.

“Ontario is working to support this expansion while winding down the provincial wastewater surveillance initiative,” he said.

Public health officials are criticizing the move as short-sighted.

  • BedSharkPalOP
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    1 month ago

    I’m legit fucking pissed at this. I check all the time and literally plan my life around this data.

    • OpenStars@discuss.online
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      1 month ago

      I am not from there so I do not know, but why - I presume the federal program is not as good somehow? I didn’t really understand this point from the article.

      • BedSharkPalOP
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        1 month ago

        It’s just severely limited in terms of the number of sites being sampled. They are talking about adding a few more sites, but it’s sounding like it’ll still be much less that will cause big gaps in the data.

        And to do this at a time where we have new viruses that are cause for concern? Even the US is expanding their waste water testing. It’s incredibly cost efficient to test this way vs testing and processing results from individuals.

        • OpenStars@discuss.online
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          1 month ago

          Thank you for the explanation.

          It sounds like your region is using this excuse as a cost-savings measure then:-(.

          But maybe the outcry will be enough to increase the number of sampling sites, or even reinstate the local program? It’s your money after all, so you should get to do with it what you want!:-)

    • TisI@reddthat.com
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      1 month ago

      I’m genuinely asking, why does the data matter to you that you literally plan your life around it? Are you immunocompromised, or how are you directly affected by this? If you don’t mind me asking.

      • BedSharkPalOP
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        1 month ago

        I have immune issues, yeah.

        But even outside of that, long COVID is a real threat. Not to mention they also tracked RSV and the flu as well. A new more virulent variant could pop up and it would be great to have that tracked, there’s also the bird flu etc. Hospitals considered it actionable data as well to plan staffing around severity of Flu/RSV season as well.

        If there was just one good thing that came out of the pandemic this was it IMO (should have been remote work, but apparently the Feds would rather sacrifice the health of their workforce and the planet to prop up OC Transpo, and businesses who refuse to adapt).

        • TisI@reddthat.com
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          1 month ago

          Oh, I’m sorry to hear that! I could see why it’s important to not just you, but the general public as well.

        • PerogiBoi
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          1 month ago

          Sounds like someone else has a beef with Madame Anand.

  • Megaman_EXE@beehaw.org
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    1 month ago

    I hope this isn’t a trend that will continue to other provinces. It prevents people from being able to make decisions that are right for them. There’s still a lot of vulnerable people who need this