Ontario reports another drop in COVID-19 cases amid changes to testing rules
Healthcare workers do testing at a drive-thru COVID-19 assessment centre at the Etobicoke General Hospital in Toronto on April 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
TORONTO -- Ontario health officials are reporting more than 500 new cases of COVID-19.
The 548 new infections represent a decrease over Monday’s total when 615 new cases were reported.
Seven more COVID-19-related fatalities were added since yesterday, bringing the province's death toll to 2,987. This marks the most deaths recorded in a single day (excluding instances of data remediation) since July 17 when nine deaths were logged.
Tuesday's report brings the number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 infections in Ontario to 55,362. This number also includes 46,906 resolved cases, 546 of which were logged in the last 24-hour period.
There are currently 5,469 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.
Of the 548 new cases added Tuesday, nearly half (253) were reported in residents between the ages of 20 and 39.
That age group accounts for more than a third of all of the province’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 infections.
As well, 139 cases were recorded in people between the ages of 40 and 59, while 84 new infections were reported in people 19 years of age and younger.
Another 51 cases were added in people between the ages of 60 and 79. Twenty-two new cases were documented in people 80 years of age and older.
The drop in daily cases comes as the province makes changes to how testing is performed.
Ontario residents who want to be tested for COVID-19 are now required to make an appointment, putting an end to walk-ins at the province’s 153 assessment centres.
Some medical experts have said that while an appointment-based system may have some drawbacks, the strategy may also help in more effective testing.
The need for more effective testing became clear on Monday when Premier Doug Ford said that the province is reaching its limit when it comes to processing tests for COVID-19.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 55,483 tests currently under investigation, a backlog that has remained high over the past several days.
Ford attributed the delay in test processing to a lack of diagnostic technicians in the province and a worldwide shortage in the chemicals needed to process the tests.
In fact, the pileup of unprocessed tests has become so bad that the Ministry of Health confirmed Tuesday that is has resorted to working with a United States-based laboratory to clear up the backlog.
Despite the processing delays and the changes in testing procedures in Ontario, the province was still able to complete 42,031 in the last 24-hour period.
The province has conducted more than 4.1 million COVID-19 tests since the beginning of the pandemic.
Most of the new cases added Tuesday are in Toronto (201), Peel Region (90), Ottawa (62) and York Region (56).