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Ontario confirms 351 new COVID-19 cases, deaths rise to 33

Ontario confirmed 351 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the provincial tally to 1,706 — the largest single-day increase since the outbreak began.

Provincial health officials announced 10 more deaths on Monday afternoon, bringing the total to 33. The province says 431 cases are resolved.

The province has changed the way it is reporting cases. The online page now includes more demographic data and trends, though the number of people awaiting a test result is no longer shown. As of Sunday, the website showed some 7,200 people were still awaiting test results.

Similarly, while Ontario was reporting updated numbers twice per day, once in the morning and again in the late afternoon, new numbers will now only be provided once per day at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Of Ontario’s 1,706 confirmed cases:

  • 50.2 per cent of cases are male, while 49.1 per cent are female.
  • The median age is 50, ranging in age from less than 1 to 100 years of age.
  • Greater Toronto Area public health units account for 61.4 per cent of all cases.
  • Of all cases, 26.3 per cent had travelled in the 14 days prior to becoming ill; 9.6 per cent had close contact with a confirmed case; 16.2 per cent had neither and 47.9 per cent have exposure information pending.

Premier Doug Ford spoke at a news conference Monday afternoon. He said the province is now advising anyone over the age of 70, or anyone with an underlying health condition, to stay home and self isolate.

Ford said measures have to be ramped up in the face of increasing numbers of cases.

“We need to protect them,” he said.

Meanwhile, seven residents of a long-term care home in Ontario cottage country have died of COVID-19 complications and that number is likely to increase, the facility’s medical director says. It was originally believed nine residents had died, but two of the deaths were later said to be unrelated to COVID-19.

All of the deaths at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, about 150 kilometres northeast of Toronto, occurred since last Wednesday, said Dr. Michelle Snarr.

“There will be more deaths. It’s grim, it’s heartbreaking. We get more heartbreaking news all the time,” she said in an interview on Monday morning.

“There may have been more by now. Several were close to death last night,” she continued, explaining that she hadn’t yet received the day’s update from nurses inside the facility.

Nine residents of the Pinecrest Nursing Home have died since Tuesday last week. All of the deaths are believed to be linked to COVID-19. (Simon Dingley/CBC)

 

As of last week, at least 34 of the facility’s 66 staff members were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, CBC Toronto previously reported.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Health Unit said Monday that 24 staff had tested positive for COVID, while test results are pending for 10 other staffers.

Snarr said that staff who are able to continue working are doing everything they can given limited resources.

“The residents who are dying, they are being kept comfortable.”

It’s not clear how the novel coronavirus got in to the home, she said, but it has already had a devastating impact.

“I’ve been in practice for 32 years,” Snarr said. “I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff happen, but I don’t remember anything with this level of sadness.”

And it is not only residents and staff of the nursing home who have been affected. Jean Pollock, whose husband lives at Pinecrest, was a frequent visitor and volunteer at the facility.

She fell ill on her 82nd birthday on March 17, and learned last week that she had contracted the novel coronavirus. She died at Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay on Saturday morning.

A sign that reads ‘Stay strong’ sits outside Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon. (Paul Smith/CBC)

 

Pollock’s daughter, Pam Smith, was driving from Vancouver to be by her mother’s side when she learned she had died.

The two spoke on the phone shortly before Pollock’s death.

“She said, ‘I’m going downhill quick.’ So I told her that I loved her,” Smith recalled. “She was pretty afraid. She was really struggling.”

Smith fought back tears as she reflected on the health-care workers that tried to help her mother.

“If I could say anything about this experience — other than losing my mom — it would be that the kindness of people at Ross Memorial … they were so kind to her, and so kind to me,” she said.

“They were just true, true amazing humans.”

Ford said the government is “prepared to take further action” if the spread of the virus doesn’t slow down. When asked if a mandatory stay home order was on the table, the premier said that he will take direction from provincial medical experts.

Later today, city officials in Toronto are set to update residents about the spread of COVID-19 locally.

Toronto had 540 cases of the coronavirus as of Sunday — 28 more than the day before.

Four people have died in Toronto from the virus and at least 18 are in intensive care units. A CBC Toronto investigation found there may far more COVID-19 patients in ICUs than official numbers show.

Mayor John Tory, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg and the city’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa will be among officials providing an update on the situation later this afternoon.

CBC

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