Ontario health officials have confirmed 309 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, including 13 more deaths.
The new patients announced on Monday morning bring the total number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario to 4,347, including 132 deceased patients.
Nine of the deaths were between the ages of 40 and 59, 48 of them were between the ages of 60 and 79 and 75 of them were 80 years of age or older.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday afternoon, Ontario's Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said that 589 infected patients are currently in hospital. Of those patients, 216 of them are being treated in an intensive care unit and 160 of those 216 patients have been placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing.
Of all the cases in the province, 451 of them are among healthcare workers – 10.4 per cent.
There are currently an additional 329 people under investigation for the virus. That number is significantly down from last week when thousands of people were awaiting tests results. Health officials across the province have been working to clear a backlog of tests since then.
“We have, as you know, basically gotten rid of the backlog," Yaffe said. "We have tested almost 79, 000 people in Ontario. In the last 24 hours, we’ve processed about 3,500 people’s tests.”
Last month, Yaffe said that the number of daily tests is expected to rise, with a goal of 19,000 tests a day by mid-April.
Quick facts on all COVID-19 patients in Ontario:
12.4 per cent of all patients have been hospitalized at one point
46 outbreaks have been reported in long-term care homes in the province
47.3 per cent of all patients in the province are male and 52.2 per cent are female – 24 cases did not specify male or female gender
2.5 per cent of all patients are 19 years of age or younger
26.8 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 20 and 39
35.4 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 40 and 59
24.8 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 60 and 79
10.5 per cent of all patients are 80 years of age or older
Public health units in the Greater Toronto Area account for 51.9 per cent of all cases in the province
19.8 per cent of all patients had travelled in the 14 days prior to becoming ill
13 per cent of all patients had contact with a previously confirmed case
19.3 per cent of all patients had community exposure
47.9 per cent of all patients had exposure information listed as pending
What to do if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19
The number of resolved cases in the province currently sits at 1,624.
To date, more than 78,000 people have been tested for the virus across the province.
There are no specific treatments for the virus and there is no vaccine that protects against it.
Symptoms of the virus, which can include fever, cough and shortness of breath, are similar to other respiratory infections.
The Ontario government’s website advises those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to contact their primary health care provider or Telehealth Ontario.
Health minister suggests calling doctor with COVID-19 concerns
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott is recommending that residents who have COVID-19-related health questions to contact their family physician before calling Telehealth Ontario.
The minister’s comments came during a news conference Monday afternoon when she was asked about residents who said they had been waiting two to three days to hear from a nurse after calling the phone line.
“The volume has decreased somewhat but waiting three days is not acceptable,” Elliott said. “We want to get that down to 24 hours.”
Elliott said that for people who don’t want to wait to speak to a health professional via Telehealth, they should reach out to their doctor. Some family physicians have the ability to meet with patients virtually, Elliott said, and will be able to provide advice based on that patient’s medical history.
“They can now give that information to them in a much more timely manner.”
Speaking with reporters on Monday afternoon, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams echoed that sentiment and said that services such as Telehealth are still experiencing large volumes of calls.
“They would be even better prepared because they would have the chart right in front of them. That’s why I think the minister said at this time as well call your family physician. They are ready to receive those calls.”
Telehealth is still available for people who have questions about COVID-19 or who may not have a family physician.