Ontario hits another recent high with 425 new COVID-19 cases

Ontario has hit another recent high in new COVID-19 cases, with 425 residents testing positive, and Health Minister Christine Elliott is promising an action plan “imminently.”“It is ready to go,” Elliott told the legislature’s daily question period as opposition parties took aim at Premier Doug Ford’s government for the rising trend that saw just under 1,200 Ontarians test positive for the highly contagious virus over the weekend.“The plan should have been in place and acted upon already,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.Elliott replied that more assessment centres are opening with longer hours to alleviate long waits. Testing reached a peak of more than 40,000 on Saturday before falling back to 31,753 Sunday. She added her goal of lab capacity to process 50,000 tests daily should be reached “in the next week or so.”Ford took action on the weekend to cap indoor gatherings at 10 people and outdoor gatherings at 25 with physical distancing across the province in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. New case numbers had dipped below 100 daily for a week in mid-August before a sudden resurgence in September.As recently as late August, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams mused about allowing people to have more than one “social circle” of 10 people, including members of their own households, with whom they could gather without precautions such as wearing masks and physical distancing. But that is clearly off the table for now, with the government freezing any plans to loosen restrictions.The 425 new cases reported by the Ministry of Health on Monday were based on data uploaded by health units at 4 p.m. Sunday and include 175 in Toronto, 84 in Peel and 60 in Ottawa.Elsewhere in Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, there were 20 new cases in York, 14 in Durham, 12 in Halton and eight in Hamilton. Overall, 73 per cent of the new infections were in the GTHA but many parts of the province remain clear of new cases, with 14 of the 34 public health units reporting no new infections. Sixty-seven per cent of the new infections were in people under 40. Health experts remain concerned that those people will spread it to older parents and colleagues and other regions, eventually increasing the number of Ontarians requiring hospitalization.“It doesn’t take a lot of time for this to spread into other age groups,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist at University Health Network. “We’re already starting to see early indications.”The Ministry of Health reported two more deaths and said there were 65 patients in hospital with COVID-19, including 22 in intensive care and 12 of them on ventilators, but noted 35 hospitals did not report their latest statistics and said the actual numbers are expected to be higher. There were 18 new cases in the province’s 4,828 schools, with 75 schools now having reported students or staff with COVID-19, an increase from 60 schools on Friday.Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1

Ontario hits another recent high with 425 new COVID-19 cases

Ontario has hit another recent high in new COVID-19 cases, with 425 residents testing positive, and Health Minister Christine Elliott is promising an action plan “imminently.”

“It is ready to go,” Elliott told the legislature’s daily question period as opposition parties took aim at Premier Doug Ford’s government for the rising trend that saw just under 1,200 Ontarians test positive for the highly contagious virus over the weekend.

“The plan should have been in place and acted upon already,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

Elliott replied that more assessment centres are opening with longer hours to alleviate long waits. Testing reached a peak of more than 40,000 on Saturday before falling back to 31,753 Sunday. She added her goal of lab capacity to process 50,000 tests daily should be reached “in the next week or so.”

Ford took action on the weekend to cap indoor gatherings at 10 people and outdoor gatherings at 25 with physical distancing across the province in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. New case numbers had dipped below 100 daily for a week in mid-August before a sudden resurgence in September.

As recently as late August, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams mused about allowing people to have more than one “social circle” of 10 people, including members of their own households, with whom they could gather without precautions such as wearing masks and physical distancing. But that is clearly off the table for now, with the government freezing any plans to loosen restrictions.

The 425 new cases reported by the Ministry of Health on Monday were based on data uploaded by health units at 4 p.m. Sunday and include 175 in Toronto, 84 in Peel and 60 in Ottawa.

Elsewhere in Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, there were 20 new cases in York, 14 in Durham, 12 in Halton and eight in Hamilton. Overall, 73 per cent of the new infections were in the GTHA but many parts of the province remain clear of new cases, with 14 of the 34 public health units reporting no new infections.

Sixty-seven per cent of the new infections were in people under 40. Health experts remain concerned that those people will spread it to older parents and colleagues and other regions, eventually increasing the number of Ontarians requiring hospitalization.

“It doesn’t take a lot of time for this to spread into other age groups,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist at University Health Network. “We’re already starting to see early indications.”

The Ministry of Health reported two more deaths and said there were 65 patients in hospital with COVID-19, including 22 in intensive care and 12 of them on ventilators, but noted 35 hospitals did not report their latest statistics and said the actual numbers are expected to be higher.

There were 18 new cases in the province’s 4,828 schools, with 75 schools now having reported students or staff with COVID-19, an increase from 60 schools on Friday.

Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1

Source : Toronto Star More