Ontario confirms 421 new COVID-19 cases, death toll nears 300
TORONTO -- Ontario health officials confirmed an additional 421 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday morning and 17 new deaths related to the virus.
The announcement brings the total of COVID-19 cases in the province to 7,470, including 291 deaths and 3,357 recoveries.
According to Monday’s epidemiological summary, one deceased patient is between the age of 20 and 39. The summary also shows that 18 patients who died were between the ages of 40 and 59, another 89 deceased patients were between the ages of 60 and 79 and 183 patients who died were 80 years of age or older.
Many of the elderly patients who died were residents of a long-term care home or seniors’ residence. The province says that 89 outbreaks have been reported in those types of facilities across Ontario.
As a result, on Monday afternoon Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that his government plans on extending the province’s state of emergency by 28 days when the legislature resumes tomorrow.
There are currently 760 patients in Ontario hospitals with COVID-19, including 263 patients who are being treated in an intensive care unit. Of those 263, the province says that 203 patients are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
So far, 12.8 per cent of all cases reported in the province have been hospitalized at some point.
The data also shows that 813 of all Ontario COVID-19 patients are health care workers.
In terms of virus exposure, Ontario health officials say that 1,131 patients travelled within the 14 days prior to becoming ill. This includes 380 patients who had travelled to the United States and 117 who had travelled to the United Kingdom.
The province says that 1,223 cases were the result of close contact with another confirmed case while 1,656 infections developed through community transmission.
The exposure information for close to half of all the cases reported (46.3 per cent) is listed as pending.
Right now, 108,230 people have been tested for the virus, with health officials conducting 5,065 tests since Sunday morning.
Ontario's Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said that the province completed 7,000 tests a day earlier.
“The number tested does vary. It depends on who shows up at assessment centres, how many outbreaks we have and the testing that’s done in those circumstances.”
There are currently 1,534 cases under investigation.
Yaffe also said that based on the projections put out by the province earlier this month, a peak in cases is likely going to happen at some point this week.
‘Get the damn tests done’: Premier on COVID-19 testing at long-term care homes
Ford was asked about the testing guidelines in place for long-term care homes in Ontario and why some facilities had not tested every resident following a confirmed outbreak of COVID-19.
Last week, Ford said that Ontario needs to be testing “everyone possible” and confirmed that he spoke with Ontario Health President and CEO Matthew Anderson over the weekend regarding the protocol.
“He told me that he was going to be proactive and test everyone. I have to take him for his word,” Ford said. “I want to see every single long-term care home resident and healthcare worker there tested.”
Ford admits that the speed of testing throughout the province has left him feeling frustrated. One reason for the lack of testing in Ontario was attributed to the shortage of reagent, the chemical solution that is used with the testing kits.
Despite that, on Saturday, the province laid out its plan to raise its daily output of tests to about 8,000 by April 15, 12,500 daily tests by April 22 and 16,000 daily tests by May 6, a timeline the premier seemed vehemently determined to stick to.
“Get these damn tests done. Simple. I don’t know what takes so long and what’s so hard about it.”
Quick facts on all COVID-19 patients in Ontario:
- 55 per cent of all patients in the province are female and 44.4 per cent are male – 43 cases did not specify male or female gender
- 2.3 per cent of all patients are 19 years of age or younger
- 24.3 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 20 and 39
- 33.7 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 40 and 59
- 24.1 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 60 and 79
- 15.4 per cent of all patients are 80 years of age or older
- Public health units in the Greater Toronto Area account for 53.9 per cent of all cases in the province