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COVID-19 in Ontario: Cases top 7,000 as province aims to increase testing

There are now more than 7,000 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, and just two days to go before the province expects to be processing 8,000 tests per day.

Last week, Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott laid out Ontario’s new testing strategy, which involves targeting vulnerable groups like long-term care home residents and first responders.

The government’s goal is to process 8,000 tests a day by Wednesday and 16,000 a day by May 6 — a major jump from last week, which saw 4,097 new test results reported on Thursday and 5,573 on Friday.

On Sunday, health officials added 401 new cases to Ontario’s total. Of those, 738 patients are hospitalized and 261 are in an intensive care unit.

New numbers are expected this morning at 10:30 a.m. ET.

New deaths at long-term care homes

Schlegel Villages, which manages long-term care and retirement homes around Ontario, issued a news release Sunday afternoon announcing five new COVID-19 deaths at two different facilities: two at Erin Meadows in Mississauga and three at Humber Heights in Etobicoke. A fourth death at Humber Heights was later reported.

In total, there have been 11 deaths at Schlegel facilities, and just under 40 staff members and 40 residents are reportedly infected with the virus.

We also learned on Sunday about the deaths of five residents at the Chartwell Gibson Long-term Care Residence in North York, Ont. and about the first death of a long-term care home resident in the London, Ont. area.

Toronto’s busiest parks start to empty out

After an enforcement blitz over the weekend, Toronto officials say gatherings in parks are on a downward trend in the city as people get the hang of physical distancing.

In a statement, the city said officers issued 48 tickets to people who weren’t following physical distancing rules at city parks on Sunday.

It also said that officers noticed “lighter use” of busy parks, and that the number of complaints being called into 311 had gone down — though there were still some issues in Trinity Bellwoods Park and along the waterfront.

On Saturday, the city said that officers would begin immediately issuing tickets, rather than trying to educate residents first.

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, parks and playgrounds are off-limits, and families living in high-rise apartments say they’re struggling with the lack of access to green spaces.

CBC

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