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Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he won’t make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for hospital workers.

Ford wrote to hospitals and other stakeholders last month asking for input on the issue.

He says the government looked at those responses and at “real-world evidence” and has decided to stick with its current approach, which allows unvaccinated workers to regularly get tested.

A statement from Ford says high vaccination rates in hospitals and strong infection control measures mean hospitals are safe and can manage outbreaks.

He also pointed to news of surgery cancellations in British Columbia due to vaccine mandate-related staff shortages and says he doesn’t want to jeopardize care for Ontarians.

Ford says the government will keep monitoring the situation but for now will leave the decision to mandate vaccines up to individual hospitals.

Ontario COVID-19 numbers

Ontario is reporting 378 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 236 of the new cases are in people who aren’t fully vaccinated or their vaccination status isn’t known.

There are 137 people in intensive care units due to COVID-19, and 25 of them are from Saskatchewan.

Elliott says 125 people are not fully vaccinated or their vaccination status isn’t known.

Nearly 88.3 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 84.7 per cent have both doses.

Ontario is set to announce its plan later today for third doses.

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