Hamilton’s associate Medical Officer of Health has issued an apology to Premier Ford for remarks made in an interview with the Hamilton Spectator Thursday. Harvey was being questioned about COVID testing in long-term care facilities a day after the Provincial Medical Officer had issued a directive to all local Public Health Offices to provide testing to all residents and staff of LTC facilities. Harvey was quoted as saying, “(You) don’t do testing for the sake of doing testing, even though (that’s) what our premier says,” he told the Hamilton Spectator.”And quite frankly, he’s not a medical scientist. He’s not a health scientist. He’s a premier … I didn’t go to medical school with Premier Ford.”
Over the supper hour yesterday Dr. Harvey issued a letter of apology that read:
Please accept my sincere apologies for the inappropriate comments I made that appeared in an article in the Hamilton Spectator today. My comments were my own and do not reflect those of the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Public Health Services or Hamilton City Council. I have tremendous respect for the Premier’s role in this emergency and the difficult decisions you need to make every day.
I am very passionate about my work but that is no excuse for my inappropriate comments. Our team here at the City of Hamilton– like your own and countless others across the province – continues to work tirelessly to protect the health and well-being of the Hamilton community against the threat of COVID-19. We are doing our very best while facing extraordinary challenges, as I know your government is as well.
You have my personal and professional commitment that our team will continue to look to yourself and the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health for direction and guidance in our collective efforts to respond to this pandemic emergency.
Harvey’s remarks were not the first from Public Health officials questioning the value of wholesale testing for COVID. The province’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams talked about “testing for testing’s sake” the day Premier Ford expressed his impatience with the pace of testing in early April. Ontario is ramping up testing, but still lags behind every other province in tests per population.