Ontario reported an additional 387 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the number of patients hospitalized by the illness jumped considerably and deaths in long-term care homes pushed past 1,000.
The new cases represent a 2.2 per cent increase, a figure on par with those observed over the last week. The cumulative case count in Ontario since the outbreak began in late January is now 18,310 — though nearly 70 per cent are now considered resolved.
About 16 per cent of all cases, or some 2,892, are health-care workers, according to the Ministry of Health.
The official COVID-19 death toll sits at 1,361, an increase of 61 since yesterday. However data compiled from regional public health units shows the actual death toll to be at least 1,427.
Nearly three-quarters, or 1,003, of those deaths were residents in long-term care homes. The province says it is currently tracking outbreaks in 218 long-term care facilities, six more than in its last update.
Hospitalizations increased by 59, up to 1,043 from 984. The number of patients being treated in intensive care units dropped slightly, from 225 down to 223. Of those, 166 are on ventilators, the Ministry of Health says, a decrease of nine since yesterday.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer, has repeatedly said that hospitalization rates will be a key consideration in how soon the province can begin to ease emergency measures put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
After several consecutive days of the province meeting or exceeding its 14,000 tests processed per day target, only 10,654 were completed in the last 24 hours. It is the lowest total in five days. Relatedly, the backlog of tests waiting to be processed stayed at over 6,000.
Williams said last week that a network of public, community and hospital labs now has the capacity to process up to 19,525 per day.
Premier Doug Ford said this week that retailers and other businesses should start preparing to reopen their doors, even if they don’t yet have a date for resuming business.
He called the province’s recent COVID-19 case numbers “encouraging,” and said that if they continue their downward trend, parks and stores could reopen sooner than later.
Ford asked that businesses start preparing their supplies of masks and taking other step.