Ontario confirmed an additional 76 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, though 11 public health units are not included in the update due to a “glitch” in the province’s outdated reporting system, the health minister says.
In a series of tweets, Christine Elliott noted that the 11 units missing from today’s tally accounted for a total of eight new cases in the last update.
“While not a direct proxy for today it’s an indication of how many cases may be under-reported,” Elliott wrote.
The newly confirmed cases are mainly concentrated in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, with 21, 19 and 11, respectively.
Data is missing in today’s update from the following health units:
- Brant County
- Simcoe Muskoka
Elliott said that all of the health units affected by the glitch will have transitioned to the province’s new COVID-19 reporting system by the end of today. Once that is finalized, 31 of Ontario’s 34 public health units will be using the system, which the government began developing in April.
All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health’s daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid lag times in the provincial system.
Ontario has now seen a total of 41,048 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in late January. Of those, nearly 91 per cent are considered resolved. Another 76 were marked resolved in today’s report.
There are currently about 964 confirmed, active infections of the novel coronavirus provincewide, though the real figure is likely slightly higher given the error today.
The number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases dropped to 35. Fifteen of those are being treated in intensive care units, while eight are on ventilators. It’s only the third time the number of patients requiring a ventilator has fallen into single digits since the province began reporting that data on April 1.
Ontario’s official COVID-19 death toll grew by one, up to 2,793. A CBC News count based on data from public health units puts the real toll at 2,828.
Meanwhile, the number of long-term care homes with ongoing outbreaks of the illness is down to 10. Over the course of Ontario’s outbreak, a total of 417 facilities have reported cases.
Emergency orders extended until Sept. 22
Ontario is extending its emergency orders today saying it continues to need the tools to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario’s solicitor general Sylvia Jones says that while virus cases continue to go down, the province will extend most orders until Sept. 22.
Orders restricting activities under Stage 3, governing health care worker redeployment and management of long-term care homes remain in place.
The province says it will let some orders lapse, including one that allowed school boards to redeploy workers to health care facilities to respond to the pandemic.
That emergency order will expire on Aug. 31.
Jones says the government is conducting ongoing reviews of all of the orders to determine if they are still necessary.
Ford spending more on police
At a news conference Thursday, Premier Doug Ford announced the provincial government is spending $25 million to hire 200 more Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers.
The spending is in response to the OPP Independent Review Panel report released back in March and feedback received from members of the service, said Jones.
She said they will be deployed to certain areas around the province but decisions on specific detachments will be made by the commissioner.
During the press conference, Ford was asked why he is choosing to spend money on hiring more police at a time when school boards have been asked for funding to hire more teachers in time for the school year.
The premier defended his spending decision and said schools should be using the reserve money they have to take on more staff.
“The reserves are there for a rainy day fund and I haven’t seen a storm like this in my lifetime,” said Ford. “Let’s use the reserves and hire more teachers.”
Ford also called on the teachers union to put “all this political nonsense behind them” as they continue to discuss back-to-school plans for students with the school board for September.
“I’m asking the teachers’ union, now it’s your turn to step up. We have some of the greatest teachers in the country, but the teachers’ unions have to come to the table and work with us. That’s all I’m asking,” said Ford.