The Ontario government is calling for help from the Canadian military to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in long-term care facilities, where the province says soldiers are needed to help with staffing and medical care.
The Ford government revealed the request for help at five long-term care facilities on Wednesday, though it did not say which homes are most in need of help.
“Things change hour by hour,” said Minister of Long-term Care Merrilee Fullerton. “That military assistance will go to the homes in greatest need.”
CBC News has collected data from local health units showing COVID-19 has killed at least 716 people in Ontario — a total that includes hundreds who have died in long-term care.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford likened the situation in long-term care settings to a “raging wildfire” during his Wednesday news conference.
According to the latest provincial update, 878 patients with the disease are being hospitalized, and 243 are in intensive care units.
The province says there have been 12,245 confirmed COVID-19 cases in total, 510 of which were new on Wednesday.
The real number of confirmed cases is likely far higher given Ontario’s past testing woes. Regardless, the latest provincial modelling suggests Ontario has reached the peak when it comes to community spread of the disease, although health officials say physical distancing measures must continue.