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Ontario confirms 462 new COVID-19 cases, death toll at 81

Ontario confirmed 462 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 3,255.

The official tally includes 67 deaths, however CBC News has accumulated data from local public health units and counted 81 deaths in the province.

Another 1,023 cases are considered resolved — a roughly 30 per cent jump since the last update.

Some 1,245 people are awaiting test results, more than 800 fewer than Thursday. A total of 66,753 tests have been administered provincewide.

The newest data provides a snapshot of the situation in Ontario as of 4 p.m. ET yesterday.

In terms of hospitalizations:

  • 462 cases of COVID-19 have been hospitalized.
  • 194 cases are in intensive care units.
  • 140 cases are on ventilators.

The province also offered this breakdown of cases since Jan. 15, 2020:

  • 48.5 per cent are male, while 50.9 per cent are female.
  • About 32 per cent of cases are 60 years of age and older.
  • Greater Toronto Area public health units account for 53 per cent of cases.

Meanwhile, a nursing home in central Ontario is reporting four more deaths of residents in a COVID-19 outbreak there, bringing the total to 20.

The local health unit believes the outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon is the largest in the province, with at least 24 staff members also infected.

It’s not yet clear if the four new deaths there were included in the province’s updated death toll.

The province is also due to release data today showing how many Ontarians could die from COVID-19 in various scenarios.

CBC News has learned the projections will show that Ontario’s actions so far to slow the spread of COVID-19 have prevented thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases, and that stricter action today would save hundreds more lives.

Premier Doug Ford previously warned the data models will be hard for many Ontarians to hear.

But he says it’s important that people in the province have the same information that he does, so they can understand why he’s making certain decisions.

Just two days ago Ford resisted calls to release the projections. Now, he says the move could also serve as a “wake-up call” to some Ontarians who aren’t taking physical distancing measures seriously.

Matthew Anderson, the head of Ontario Health, Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the University of Toronto’s public health department, and Dr. Peter Donnelly, who heads Public Health Ontario, will hold a news conference to explain the models.

False test results in Peel

Meanwhile, a regional health unit west of Toronto has apologized after it mistakenly mailed letters to 16 people telling them that their COVID-19 tests were negative when they were in fact positive.

Dr. Lawrence Loh, interim medical officer of health in Peel, said in a statement that the letters were mailed on Tuesday and Wednesday. His unit was made aware of the errors late Thursday, he added.

“I know the relief those residents felt for a few moments has sadly been transformed into feelings of fear and uncertainty. Our team is working quickly to notify these residents and make sure they have what they need to manage this difficult situation,” Loh said.

An investigation revealed that several positive test slips were mixed with a batch of negative results received from labs, according to Loh. Peel’s health unit has changed its process to avoid repeating the mistakes again.

“On behalf of the Region of Peel, I extend apologies to those residents impacted by this error,” Loh said.

Online portal for test results

Minister of Health Christine Elliott announced a new online site for the public to access their COVID-19 test results.

The hope is that it will ease the burden on local public health units “so that they can better focus on containing COVID-19,” Elliott said in a news release.

Further, the province also issued a new order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to give health units more flexibility through hiring retired nurses, medical students and volunteers.

The order comes after Ontario’s top medical official recommended more aggressive contact tracing to track community spread of the coronavirus.

CBC

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