Ontario reports dip in COVID-19 cases but data glitch underestimated numbers, officials say
A woman attends a COVID testing centre at a Hospital in Ajax, Ont., on Tuesday July 28, 2020. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)
TORONTO -- Ontario is reporting fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19, but health officials say that total number of infections is missing cases from 11 public health units due to a glitch.
Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliott stated on Thursday that the province is confirming 76 cases of the novel coronavirus, but says information from a number of health units is missing due to an issue with their Integrated Public Health Information System.
Elliott stated on Thursday that the incident is a reminder that all public health units need to replace the “outdated” Integrated Public Health Information System with the province’s “custom-built COVID-19 system.”
“We’re making great progress. In fact, all 11 impacted units are transitioning to the new system today, at which point 31 of 34 PHUs will be using it,” Elliott said.
More than 100 new cases have been reported for the past three days now. On Tuesday, 125 infections were confirmed and 102 infections were confirmed on Wednesday.
The province also reported on Thursday that one more person has died due to COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,792.
The new infections bring the province’s total number of lab-confirmed infections to 41,048, including 37,291 recoveries and the deaths.
Where are the new COVID-19 cases?
Elliott said the 11 public health units that were unable to submit their info on case counts on Thursday had altogether reported a total of eight cases the day before.
“While not a direct proxy for today, it’s an indication of how many cases may be under-reported,” Elliott said in a Tweet.
The units not included in the Thursday’s case count include Algoma, Brant County, Chatham-Kent, City of Hamilton, Niagara Region, Peterborough, Simcoe Muskoka District, Southwestern, Sudbury & Districts, Timiskaming and Windsor-Essex County.
On Thursday, Peel Region reported 19 new cases, Ottawa reported 11 new cases, Toronto reported 21 new cases and Middlesex-London reported seven new cases.
All regions have now entered Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, which included the reopening of gyms, indoor dining at bars and restaurants and many facial services.
Of the new patients, the majority were between the ages of 20 and 39. Eleven new cases were reported in people under the age of 20, while 11 were recorded in those over the age of 60.
There are currently 35 people in the hospital being treated for the disease. Fifteen of those patients are in the intensive care unit and eight are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
Testing for COVID-19 in Ontario
More than 2.6 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Ontario since the virus reached the province in late January.
In the last 24 hours, a little more than 25,000 tests were conducted.
As of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, 22,104 test samples are still under investigation.