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New daily COVID-19 cases in Ontario jump back over 500 after days of declining numbers

Ontario reported 525 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, ending three consecutive days of declining daily figures.

The jump in new instances comes after Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said that loosening emergency measures would require two to four weeks of consistently falling daily case numbers and fewer hospitalizations.

Ontario also confirmed outbreaks in four additional long-term care facilities Public health officials are now monitoring outbreaks in 154 long-term care homes, where 705 residents have died of COVID-linked illness and another 2,491 have been infected by the novel coronavirus.

The province’s cumulative tally is now 15,381 COVID-19 cases, with slightly more than 58 per cent of those — or 8,964 — resolved. Some 2,144 health-care workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health.

The official death toll now from the disease now sits at 951, though data compiled from regional public health units puts the actual figure at at least 1,028.

Meanwhile, hospitalization figures remain fairly steady. Some 957 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, up from 945 yesterday. The number of people in intensive care fell slightly to 239 from 241, and those on respirators dropped to 187 from 191.

Public health officials have previously said that Ontario would need to see sustained new daily cases of around 200 before shutdown measures could be loosened. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

More than 50,000 procedures delayed

Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office released a new report today exploring hospital capacity in the province.

It estimates that up to 52,700 hospital procedures have been cancelled or postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic. For each additional week the outbreak continues, another 12,200 more operations are delayed, the office found.

The FAO also noted that in the lead up to the outbreak, Ontario’s hospitals averaged 96 per cent occupancy, leaving only around 900 unoccupied acute care beds at any given time. Strategies such as cancelled elective surgeries and patient relocations eventually freed up more than 9,300 acute care beds.

Further, the office estimates that if the state of emergency declared by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on March 17 had come just five days later, the number of concurrent COVID-19 patients requiring critical care in hospitals would have been four times as high as it is now.

CBC

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