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Ontario has only 1 week supply of ‘critical’ protective equipment left, premier says

Ontario currently has just one week’s worth of critical personal protective equipment stockpiled, Premier Doug Ford said Monday.

In a statement, Ford said that “delays in global shipments and recent restrictions at the U.S. border” have put a severe strain on the province’s inventory.

Earlier today, Ontario confirmed 309 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 4,347.

The official tally includes 132 deaths, however CBC News has counted 146 deaths province wide based on data reported by local public health units.

The test backlog dropped to just 329 — though some infectious diseases experts have been critical of Ontario’s testing capacity. The province has the lowest per capita testing rates in Canada.

“We need to do better, we need to rapidly expand our testing. Not just in hospitals, but in out-of-hospitals settings as well,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto.

Ontario public health officials have previously said they hope to be completing more than 5,000 tests per day in the near future. Over the last week, the province has been doing fewer than 4,000 tests per day.

The data reported today provides a snapshot of COVID-19 in Ontario as of 4 p.m. ET Sunday.

Some 1,624 cases are now considered resolved, or about 37 per cent of all cases reported.

Of the total cases in the province:

  • 589 people have been hospitalized (that’s 66 more than the previous update)
  • 216 are in intensive care units (16 more than last update)
  • 160 are on ventilators (6 more than last update)

Public health units in the Greater Toronto Area account for more than 50 per cent of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, online learning is set to start at schools across the province today to ensure students get some form of education during the COVID-19 crisis.

School boards have been preparing for weeks to ensure that parents have devices and internet connections so students can take part.

Some schools in the province began assigning work last week.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce is asking parents to particularly help younger students through the transition. Lecce will be joined by Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott at a news conference scheduled for 1 p.m. at Queen’s Park.

1 of Canada’s highest-profile court cases delayed

A long-awaited murder trial was supposed to begin today but has now been delayed indefinitely.

Alek Minassian, the man accused in the Yonge Street van attack that was carried out nearly two years ago, faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

The trial was scheduled to begin in front of a judge alone. However, COVID-19 has closed Ontario’s courts, forcing Minassian’s trial and many others to be rescheduled.

Minassian’s lawyer told CBC News that he can’t predict when the trial will get underway, and he understands the uncertainty is hard for victims.

“I’m sure that there are a lot of victims and families who would like to get this matter dealt with as quickly as possible,” said Boris Bytensky.

“The impacts on the victims are not lost on me, I don’t think they are lost on anybody so for their sake I hope we can get this back as quickly as possible.”

The judge has said the case will turn on Minassian’s state of mind at the time of the attack, as it’s already certain he was behind the wheel.

CBC

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