Ontario reports jump in new coronavirus cases as province's test numbers rise

May 28 2020, 2:47 pm

The Province of Ontario confirms there are 34 more COVID-19 related deaths and 383 new cases, as of Thursday morning.

This marks an increase in new cases compared to Wednesday’s 292 and Tuesday’s 287 — the lowest number reported since March 31, when Ontario reported 211 cases.

But the increase in cases could be from more coronavirus testing being performed.

On Thursday, 17,615 tests were completed from the previous day — some of the highest numbers of tests so far.

This is an increase from Wednesday’s 15,133 and Tuesday’s 9,875 completed tests.

Premier Doug Ford wanted the province to test 16,000 people daily starting on May 6. Testing had been falling short recently, until today’s report.

On Sunday, Ford asked that more Ontario residents to get tested even if they are not showing symptoms, so the province can have a better understanding of the virus.

According to the Minister of Health’s office, an increase in asymptomatic testing in Ontario is already underway.

Over the weekend, the province issued expanded guidance on asymptomatic testing for individuals living in the community and a few Toronto assessment centres have been seeing an increase in walk-in traffic since Ford’s announcement.

To date, a total of 662,162 have been tested across Ontario.

The province’s total is now 26,866 but 76.9% of the cases have been resolved, with 20,673 patients recovered.

A total of 2,189 people have died from coronavirus in Ontario, and there are 11,868 cases currently under investigation.

According to the Public Health Ontario Daily Epidemiologic Summary (iPHIS), there are 191 outbreaks in long-term care homes, with 1,377 resident deaths. Around 18.5% of cases in all of Ontario come from these facilities.

However, the Ministry of Long-Term Care Daily Report says there have been 129 outbreaks reported in long-term care homes with 1,591 resident deaths.

Government of Ontario

According to Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario relies on local public health units to report on the coronavirus, both in the community and in long-term care homes, through iPHIS, in which there is a delay in the data being received.

At the same time, the Ministry of Long-Term Care has started collecting information about coronavirus in long-term care homes through its network of inspectors.

On Tuesday, Ford said the province is investigating long-term care homes after reports from military members helping in long-term care homes show “heartbreaking and horrific” concerns.

The provincial government will also take over five more long-term care homes that Ford is “most concerned” about and will perform “rigorous inspections” of 13 more homes over the next three weeks.

The Greater Toronto Area public health units account for more than half of the cases at 65.6%.

Of the total cases, 43.3% are male and 55.9% are female, with 40.3% of cases age 60 years and older.

To date, there are 833 hospitalized, with 137 in ICU, and 94 patients on ventilators.

Government of Ontario

The daily summary is based on data reported by the 34 public health units across Ontario and recorded in the province’s integrated Public Health Information System, according to the Ontario government.

iPHIS is the Ministry of Health’s disease reporting system where data is regularly updated, and where each daily summary is pulled at 4 pm the previous day.

Last week, the province also entered Stage 1 of its framework to reopen the economy, allowing certain businesses and recreational activities to reopen. Despite this though, Ford’s government extended its emergency orders for another 10 days to help stop the spread of the virus.

The emergency orders were previously extended to May 29, and now are currently in force until June 9, 2020.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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