5 deaths due to COVID-19 at North York retirement home, 23 test positive as provincial death toll rises to 274

Five residents of Chartwell Gibson Long-term Care Residence have died in a COVID-19 outbreak at the North York, Ont., facility, officials there said Sunday.

There are also 22 residents with positive cases and one positive staff member with COVID-19 identified, spokesperson Sharon Ranalli said in an email to CBC News.

“Our sympathies are extended to the family and loved ones of these individuals,” Ranalli said.

“We are also very aware of how upsetting this is for all families with loved ones in this home.”

The news comes as Ontario reported 401 new and confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 7,049.

A total of 274 people have died of the virus, the provincial government says on its website. According to CBC tallies, there have been 309 deaths.*  Across Canada, CBC has counted 709 deaths.

Of the confirmed Ontario cases, the province says:

  • 738 patients have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
  • 261 patients are in intensive care units, while 196 are on ventilators — 19 fewer than reported yesterday.
  • More than 40 per cent of people with the illness (3,121) have recovered.

2 COVID-19 deaths at retirement home in Toronto’s west end

Two residents of a retirement home in Toronto’s west end have died from COVID-19, CBC News has learned.

The Village of Humber Heights in Etobicoke, announced the deaths to residents and family members in a letter obtained by CBC News.

“We have lost [two] residents to this horrible disease,” the letter reads.

“We are devastated and our hearts are with these families and their fellow resident friends.”

The actual total number of COVID-19 cases is likely higher than is currently officially reported. Earlier this week, Premier Doug Ford blasted the “unacceptable” number of daily COVID-19 tests being done in Ontario. The government has outlined a plan to reach 8,000 tests a day by April 15 and 16,000 tests per day by May 6.

The province has been criticized for testing far below its daily capacity of 13,000 people.

On Sunday, Ontario reported 6,844 more people had been tested for the virus- an increase from earlier this week, when the province reported 4,097 new test results on Thursday and 5,573 on Friday.

New health data platform to help defeat COVID-19

On Sunday, the Ontario government announced it is developing a new health data platform called the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR), as part of the steps it is taking to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

This new platform — being developed in consultation with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner — will contain health data that will allow researchers to help the government detect and respond to COVID-19.

“Better access to integrated data will improve modelling and research to determine how COVID-19 is evolving, ensuring frontline staff are as prepared as possible in these unprecedented times,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a news release on Sunday.

“While access to data is important, we are taking all measures to ensure patient privacy is always respected and Ontarians are aware of how anonymized information may be shared.”

Ontario will appoint a PANTHR special advisor and form a roundtable to provide recommendations about the data.

The government says the information gathered in the platform will allow researchers to focus on:

  • Increasing detection of COVID-19.
  • Discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations.
  • Predicting when and where outbreaks may happen.
  • Evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working.
  • Identifying where to allocate equipment and other resources.

People celebrate Easter online, at home

Meanwhile, Ontario churches are sitting empty on Easter Sunday, with some priests saying mass online.

People are being urged to celebrate the holiday in their own homes and with family members who live in their households.

The Easter Bunny, however, has been deemed an essential worker.

“This year, Easter celebrations will be different due to the pandemic,” Ford said in an Easter greetings statement on Sunday morning.

“Please think of our seniors and those facing hard times, and consider reaching out or dropping off necessities for them.”

Meanwhile, Mayor John Tory said messages of hope and renewal are particularly powerful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While these are challenging times for all of us, I know that we’re a strong city, capable of doing our part to flatten the curve,” he said in a video message.

‘Zero tolerance’

Meanwhile, an enforcement blitz is continuing in Toronto in an  effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said on Saturday that police will have “zero tolerance” for people who refuse to respect the city’s physical distancing bylaw.

Mayor Tory has urged police to issue more tickets.

The city now has more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases.

Along with city bylaw officers, Toronto police have issued 53 tickets, more than 2,500 cautions and 88 tags and towed four vehicles since an enforcement blitz began on April 2, the police chief said on Saturday.

*CBC has gathered death and hospitalization rates in Ontario directly from public health units across the province. The numbers reported by the Ontario government will sometimes appear lower, due to a lag in the provincial reporting system.


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