25 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ontario, bringing provincial total to 214
TORONTO -- Ontario has confirmed 25 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 214.
There are more than 3,378 people currently under investigation for the virus. More than 10,305 people in Ontario have tested negative.
Most of those people have a recent travel history, to places such as the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe, or they are close contacts of other confirmed cases.
Three of the new cases are in Toronto. All of the new patients are self-isolating at home.
On Monday, the Ontario government confirmed a COVID-19 patient in the province died but it is still unclear if the virus was the cause of death. The 77-year-old Barrie, Ont. man tested positive after he died.
"There has been a death. I’m very sorry and extend my condolences to this person’s family," Health Minister Christine Elliot said Tuesday. "We have asked for the assistance of the coroner’s office to do a complete examination and investigation to determine whether this person died because of COVID or with COVID."
The man, who had been receiving care at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, was a close contact of another person visiting from Alberta, who also tested positive for COVID-19, Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said.
More than 600 Canadians have been infected with the virus.
Ford said lab capacity set to increase
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that about 2,000 COVID-19 tests are being conducted every day. He also said he hopes to soon have the capability to conduct 5,000 tests a day.
“We are working through those as quickly as possible because I know there are many people who need to know if they are testing positive or not,” Christine Elliott said. “We are very aware of the need to increase our capacity for testing and we are working on that diligently right now.”
In response to a question about a four-day waiting period to get results of a COVID-19 test, Elliott said there has been a surge in people who want to be tested.
“The number of people coming forward, of course, in light of world events have come forward significantly. We have ramped up our lab capacity as significantly as possible and will do more as we need to.”
“I agree the four-day wait is not acceptable. We are working on doing much better than that.”
Later in the day, Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health said that it is not yet known when testing capacity will increase. In the meantime, health officials are working to create a set of criteria that will help determine when positive COVID-19 cases can be considered as recovered.
“We are looking at changing to criteria. I’m sure most of our cases have recovered, they just haven’t met the criteria,” Barbara Yaffe said.
With files from The Canadian Press.